It’s been more than six months since a Massillon mother was last seen – and about three months since dozens went searching remote areas to find her.
Christine Slinger, 27, was last seen on August 20th. The next day, New Philadelphia police found Steven Stafford with the couple’s 8-year-old daughter. He was questioned and released, but later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he missed a meeting for a polygraph test.
“One minute she’s there and the next minute she’s gone,” Christine’s mother Betty Slinger said in an interview at her Massillon home Friday night.
The case of Christine’s disappearance has been flooded with unanswered questions. But the case caught the attention of national search teams to locate her.
“We love her and just hope to find closure to end the nightmare we’ve all been through,” Christine’s cousin Jessica Slinger said.
Even with the little information that was available as to where Christine could be, dozens of volunteers came together with Ohio-Midwest Chapter of Texas Equusearch, a national search team launched in Houston, to try to find Christine. Equusearch has been involved in searches around the country, including the missing cases of Casey Anthony in Florida and Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
In November, the team and volunteers combed through approximately 50-square miles in the Massillon area to find Christine.
“I was hoping they would find her, because mainly, I want to find her to do the necessary arrangements,” Betty said.
Christine was reportedly last seen wearing blue jean capri pants, a blue shirt and pink flip flops.
“They have not recovered anything,” Jessica said.
Christine’s phone is still missing.
“We’re holding out hope that she’s out there,” Jessica said. “But we also have to face the fact that it’s been that long and she might not be coming home the way we hoped for.”
That hope includes another future search.
“The information the search team got from the detectives, they’re kind of out further off OH-800, I think in Tuscarawas County.”
Until the next search, the family is left holding onto the memories of Christine.
“Big heart. Caring,” Jessica said. “Always making you laugh.”
The family is also holding onto hope for closure in a case left with so many unanswered questions.