ELYRIA, Ohio — Richard Woodburn just wants a funeral.
He’s not consumed with revenge or knowing who may have killed his little sister.
He’s past all that.
"It's been eating me up for 22 years…not a day goes by that I don't think about her,” he said.
It’s been almost 22 years since Tonia Aldrich of Elyria was last seen. For Woodburn, it’s time to bury the past and his sister.
"I love her and I miss her,” he said. “I know somebody knows what happened to her. This ain't my claim to fame. I want to find out what happened to my sister is the bottom line.”
Tonia was a single mother at 39 when she stepped out of a Clark Street tavern and into the early morning darkness, never to be seen or heard from again.
Her home was a short, quarter-mile walk away, but only her purse made to there. The date: March 29,1997.
Elyria police have investigated possible suspects, but without a crime scene and without a body, their case has stalled.
“Right now, things have come up very cold,” said police Capt. Chris Costantino. “We haven’t gotten any types of information in quite a few years.
"The family deserves some closure and understanding and quite frankly, Tonia deserves, you know, a proper burial, if that's what in fact happened."
Cheri Van Wormer was Tonia’s close friend, sharing karaoke songs and family events. She holds hope that Tonia is alive, but she also knows she wouldn’t just walk away forever.
"It's all very crazy because…the wondering is the hardest ….the wonder…your mind just goes in every direction of what could've happened," Van Wormer said.
Richard Woodburn said he’s not interested in “street justice” or criminal charges. Tonia was spunky, never afraid to speak her mind, he said.
He said he simply was a tip, some clue, as to where his sister may be. No questions asked, he said.
"It hurts me to my heart not knowing,” he said. “All I want to do is find her body, give her a decent funeral, and life goes on. I can accept that and be done with it."
Anyone with information may do so anonymously by calling Elyria police at 440-323-3302 or Richard Woodburn’s cell phone at 440-365-8181.