Approximately six months after his disappearance, the family of Amir Ellis is holding a candlelight vigil to help bring attention to his case, his mother said.
"I think that we need it as a family," Jessica Ellis said. "It's not closure, but I think it's something. Because I mean, it's gonna be such a long ordeal, and we don't know when, or if, we'll ever get Amir back. We are hopeful and still prayerful that we do and that one of them does talk, but I just feel like until then, I want to honor him. And I feel like the candlelight vigil is one way of doing it until we can get him back."
Ellis knows that she is not the only mother to have lost a child, so she hopes this will allow others to find strength as a community.
"I also want to use this opportunity to come together with some other mothers in the community that have lost a child or are going through something similar to what I'm going through so that we can maybe be there and lean on one another," she said. "I'm going to do a slideshow that honors their child that they lost as well. So I don't want to make it -- I mean, it is about Amir, but it's about all of us that have to be in this unfortunate club of losing a child way too young, no matter how they lost them."
Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/GYa0xsqZX0Q
The vigil is set for 5 p.m. Sunday at First Lutheran Church, 105 Village Road, but Ellis said the event will also be streamed on Facebook at https://tinyurl.com/bj3sjxk4.
"There will be a praise dance tribute to me and the other mothers in attendance," she said. "My pastors will, one will pray, one will give words of encouragement. That's Pastor Jon (Beyer), pastor of our church. We'll have a candle lighting ceremony with a moment of silence at the very end, and we will have refreshments that have been catered by Rx Catering, who has done all of our catering for us for the searches, and they have just been so great this whole, through everything with Amir. The plan is to just memorialize our children."
Ellis helped organize several community searches, including one in early September, but while the search continues, she has not organized any searches for several weeks.
"I haven't done any searches in the last few Saturdays, but the detectives have done some searches, still out in the Jessieville area," she said. "I'm not sure what led to those particular searches. It was something that they got, and even Caleb (Landers) and his search team (Quapaw Nation Search and Rescue) came down one week to help do a search with the dogs. I haven't done any, but I plan on doing a couple more before it gets too cold after we get done with the vigil."
Amir Ellis had plans to visit his brother, Alyjah, on May 12, which was his brother's birthday.
"I asked him if he was gonna come over," Alyjah Ellis recalled of the weekend his brother disappeared. "He said, 'Yeah.' Then he told me, like, at 7 o'clock told me that he wasn't gonna be able to make it. He had something to do for work. I said, 'OK.' So then I texted him (two days later) Sunday, and I was like, 'You want to come over for dinner?' Mom was cooking, and we just celebrated my birthday then. But he didn't. He didn't text me back. So I texted him Monday, and he didn't text me back."
Alyjah Ellis said it is tough for both him and his mother dealing with his brother's disappearance.
"My birthday is not gonna be the same without him," the 13-year-old said. "He really did want to come. He didn't make any excuses. I know he had work. My mom, she's handling it. She's not, I'm not, nobody's expecting her to be OK and on her A-game. So I just try to help as much as I can around the house and with my little brother Kingston, so she can try to take some time to herself some days."