(NewsNation) — In Georgia, the Giddens family is searching for closure in the case of a young mother who has been missing for five years, leaving three young sons behind.
It’s been five years since Ebony Giddens last saw her family at a weekend barbecue. The following Monday, the young mother of three had vanished without a trace.
Her boyfriend at the time now sits in jail, but police have no suspects in her disappearance. Still, her family continues to search, hoping for finding closure for themselves and her three young sons.
It was a typical spring Monday in March of 2018 when Ebony Giddens’ brother, Alvin Giddens, knocked on her door in Columbus, Georgia to pick her sons up to take them to school. It was part of their normal routine, but that day, Ebony didn’t answer.
Ebony’s cousin, Ashley Jones, said Alvin knew something was wrong when Ebony didn’t answer the door.
“One of the kids answered the door and said she’s not here. He’s like, she’s not there, what’s going on? At that point, we knew something wasn’t right because she would never leave her kids by themselves,” Jones said.
When Alvin went inside the apartment with his 5-year-old nephew, he found Ebony’s purse in the living room. Her wallet and keys were both inside, but Ebony and her phone were gone.
The 27-year-old mother of three boys, ages 9, 5 and 2, built her life around her children.
“As a mom, she would do anything for her boys. Anything they wanted, anything she could try to get she would get for them,” Jones said. “She was doing the best she could.”
The family had seen Ebony just two days before, when they had a weekend cookout. It was a typical Saturday night, the family eating barbecue and playing cards. Ebony loved spades, deuces and dominoes. Nobody knew it was the last time they would see her.
Jones said her favorite moments were at those gatherings, laughing and joking around, Ebony pretending she knew what she was doing even if she didn’t.
But Ebony had a secret she was keeping from her family. The man she was dating, Malcolm Jackson, was abusive and sometimes, he frightened her. Just a day earlier she had called police after he put a gun to her head during a fight.
“Most things she would keep to herself because she would know how my family would react to them,” Jones said.
Police arrested Jackson and locked him up. Ebony filed a restraining order, but he was back home the same day, calling her over and over again in violation of the order.
Ebony’s aunt, Patricia Giddens, said the family found out some of the things Ebony wasn’t telling them after she disappeared.
“He was abusing her,” Patricia said. “He would leave her in the middle of the street somewhere and she would have to try to get home by herself.”
Police, family and friends conducted searches around the town, a city of about 200,000 people. They searched the neighborhood where Ebony was last seen, and also went looking for her in wooded areas near her apartment. They checked neighboring towns where Jackson had left her on the road during arguments, many people searching for the quiet, loving mother who had suddenly vanished.
Jackson was out of jail when Ebony disappeared, but he was later jailed again on charges of aggravated stalking and violation of probation. A year later, he was found guilty of assault, possession of a firearm and stalking Ebony. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison on those charges, but faced no charges related to Ebony’s disappearance.
While the family was searching for Ebony, they said the were also the targets of extortion and online threats. They said they now rely on hope and faith as they continue to seek answers.
“Overall, we try to give it to God and let him handle it because at this point we can’t handle it. It’s a lot,” Jones said.
Patricia said while they hope to find Ebony alive, even finding a body would provide some measure of closure for her loved ones.
“We just keep praying and hoping. We mainly want closure to give the kids some closure of what happened to her,” Patricia said. “These kids, they’re constantly going and knowing that they had a mother and one day they didn’t have her. But we don’t know what happened.”