Raleigh man recalls effort to help missing Ohio woman
Posted May 9, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh resident Ruben Reyes was living in Cleveland when Gina DeJesus disappeared while walking home from school in 2004.
Reyes did video production for the church attended by her family, and he was at the sanctuary one day when he heard DeJesus’ relatives praying for her return.
That inspired him to help.
Reyes put his skills to use, creating a 2006 documentary titled, “Where Is Gina?” The video tells the story of Gina and another girl who was missing in the area – Amanda Berry.
“My motivation was to help the family and help other people,” he said Thursday. “It was really hard because I see how they suffered. It’s something that I cannot imagine as a father…not knowing where your kids are.”
DeJesus, Berry and a third woman, Michelle Knight, were freed this week after spending about a decade in horrific captivity in a house a few miles from where they disappeared. Reyes was gratified to hear the news, which reminded of the time he spent making the nonprofit documentary.
“A lot of people start calling me, saying ‘They found Gina. They found Gina,’” he said. “When I saw the TV, I confirm that it’s real, and I was so happy.”
Reyes never met DeJesus or Berry, but he hoped that his documentary, which took a year to make, would help bring them home. In the video, DeJesus’ parents talk about the day she didn't make it home from school.
“Please come forward because I know somebody saw something,” her mother, Nancy Ruiz, says in the documentary.
Reyes said it never occurred to him that that DeJesus and Berry were together. He suspected the girls were taken by a human trafficking group.
He said the parents never lost hope.
“Right now, I just want to meet them,” Reyes said of Berry and DeJesus. “We were there at the moment they suffered. I want to be there the moment they are happy.”