Jean Marie "Jeannie" Schoen was 9 years old when she disappeared on July 21, 1974. Her body has never been found.
Jean Marie Schoen was the first little girl to vanish that tragic summer of 1974.
In all, there were five girls, ages 6 to 12, who disappeared within a three-month span in Jacksonville. Only two bodies were ever found.*
The five abductions - coming so close and apparently unrelated - were unprecedented, said a veteran Jacksonville police officer.
Nine-year-old Jean Marie, known as Jeanie, disappeared July 21 after going to a store near her grandmother's house on West 19th Street in Springfield.
For [Pam] Schoen [Jeanie's mother], the worst part is not knowing her daughter's fate.
''I don't have life or death,'' she said, her voice breaking and her brown eyes staring into space.
Jeanie was an A student at Love Grove Elementary and an eager participant in her Brownie troop's activities, Schoen said.
''She was feisty and hyperactive like me,'' she said. ''She had to be forced. She wouldn't have gone with anyone willingly.''
In the days after Jeanie's disappearance, Schoen and her family distributed 1,000 fliers of the smiling girl with the missing front tooth and had three phone lines installed so one would always be open. Schoen's former husband kept track from his home in Minnesota.
Schoen said she kept her pain inside, causing her to hyperventilate. ''But I had counseling for three months, which saved my life.''
Schoen thinks Jeanie was snatched by someone who wanted a child and clings to the hope she is still alive. Schoen's brother, Ken Maxim, even takes Jeanie's picture with him whenever he travels and displays it in his motel room.
Even today, Schoen breaks down when she sees a blond-haired girl at a mall. ''That's when I say to myself, 'Jeanie, I love you, but I can't talk or think about you right now.' ''
Still, Schoen, who has a 35-year-old son, said she has been able to lead a relatively normal life. She found solace in her jobs as a social worker and apartment complex manager. Ten years ago, she began having heart problems and is now on disability.
Schoen is convinced Jeanie would have been found if the technological advances of today and shows such as America's Most Wanted had been available 24 years ago.
Sponsored by Ancestry