Eight years after Pamela Butler disappeared without a trace, loved ones gathered Thursday at a memorial service to celebrate her life -- and for a degree of closure.
The Environmental Protection Agency analyst was last seen Feb. 12, 2009, outside her home on Fourth Street in northwest Washington, D.C. She was 47 years old.
Butler's family declared her legally dead in August because she had been missing for more than seven years, and her family wanted to settle her affairs and is accepting that she is gone, her brother Derrick Butler said. The declaration allows police to pursue murder charges if they make an arrest in the case.
So on the eighth anniversary of her disappearance, her family paid tribute to her life instead of holding a vigil.
The overall tone at Lane Memorial CME Church in Northeast Thursday was joyful.
Her brother said she had a life filled with hope and possibilities.
"I still have those trying times where I just break down," said her mother, Thelma Butler.
Surveillance cameras at Pamela Butler's captured video of Butler’s boyfriend at the time coming and going in the days following her disappearance. Her family believes he was involved with her disappearance. Police won't comment on that.
Neither he, nor anyone else has ever been charged.
D.C. police continue to pursue any new information in the case.
Derrick Butler said he is frequently in contact with police.