Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Nearly three decades later, the family of a missing Maryland woman is still not giving up. Bernadette Caruso disappeared ago 27 years ago.
As Gigi Barnett explains, they’re now asking the state to take a second look at how it handles missing persons cases.
Nearly three decades ago this week, 23-year-old Bernadette Caruso went missing from a mall parking lot in Baltimore County.
“You just don’t forget. Today feels like the first day,” said Susan Bowerman, Caruso’s sister.
For her family and friends, the quest for justice continues.
“Our family has patiently stood by, awaiting law enforcement to do the right thing,” said Sam Bowerman, Caruso’s brother-in-law.
This week, they rallied in front of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, asking for names on a petition that would bring her case to a grand jury, even though there’s still no trace of Caruso.
“There is no body, and we have circumstantial evidence that we think should be presented before a grand jury. All we seek is for the Baltimore County’s State’s Attorney’s Office to take her case,” Sam Bowerman said.
Never before in Maryland has a petition of this kind reached the State’s Attorney’s Office. The group has about 1,300 names so far. It wants at least 5,000.
“I will never stop trying to get justice. Not just for Bernadette, but for the cases that follow Bernadette. Justice is well overdue for this case,” said Susan Bowerman.
“I would like to know where he’s at,” said Deborah Denhardt.
Denhardt knows the pain of a missing family member. Her brother, Barry, disappeared while catching a bus in Baltimore four months ago. She believes more missing persons cases before a grand jury could bring long-awaited closure for families.
“I don’t want anything special. I just want justice. I want what I’m entitled to and what he’s entitled to,” she said.
Caruso’s family also wants her case before a grand jury because Baltimore County prosecutors have successfully tried cases without bodies before.