Mother of Christopher Abeyta, stolen from crib 30+ years ago, loses battle with cancer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (2/13): The Abeyta family has confirmed Bernice Abeyta lost her battle with cancer.

Credit: Find Christopher Facebook page

The family tells 11 News her son Christopher, missing 31 years this July, was on her mind until the very end.

Until her dying day, Bernice believed justice would be served for her son Christopher, stolen from his crib nearly 31 years ago. She told 11 News she had hoped to survive long enough to get closure in his case.

Bernice died in her Colorado Springs home surrounded by family. We are told they will hold a celebration of life memorial for Bernice on Feb. 18.

PREVIOUS (5/23/16): The mother of a missing child has a dying wish. Her son, Christopher Abeyta, disappeared from his crib 30 years ago this July. She recently revealed she has cancer and it's terminal. She's now hoping and pleading with the community for the answer that will bring peace to her family.

"When Christopher disappeared it was like I lost my future. I lost the beginning of our life," said Bernice Abeyta, Christopher's mother.

July marks three decades when Christopher, who was just seven months old, disappeared from his crib in Colorado Springs. His parents were sleeping just feet away.

"One big thing the kidnapper has over us is they have the surprise; they know when they're going to do it. We don't," said Gil, Christopher's father.

The Abeytas say Christopher was kidnapped — snatched from their bedroom in the middle of the night. Since then, the case has gone cold with no named suspects — and no answers.

As outlined in the lawsuit, the family believes the person who took him is the father's former mistress, Emma Bradshaw.

The Abeytas has been outspoken about their suspicions over the years. And just recently, Bradshaw sued them for defamation and won. Police have never named her as a suspect.

"My parents have said their greatest fear is that they won't have answers before they die and now she's facing this right in front of her," said Christopher's sister, Denise Alves.

Alves said her mother's recent terminal cancer diagnosis makes the urgency and desperation of getting an answer that much bigger.

"I plea with them to come forward now so my mom can have some peace," she said.

Bernice said the diagnosis wasn't easy, but she's ready for whatever is ahead.

"All of a sudden it's like I've done what I know I had to do in life and so I'm OK. I can go," Bernice said.

And she wants her six other children not to be defined by what happened to their brother.

"This was one very devastating thing that happened in our family, but there was life before and there is life after. And you have to be careful not to be controlled by this one devastating thing," Bernice said.

Even if Bernice doesn't get the answer she wants before she dies, she's confident justice will be served.

"They're going to have to face the faces someday that they didn't help the parent of a missing child find their child. And they're going to have to pay for that," said Bernice.

An age progression photo was released several years ago showing what Christopher would look like today. There is a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

If you have information, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST.

You can also follow the Christopher Abeyta group on Facebook.