MISSION, S.D. (KELO) — Keva Stoneman remembers watching her sister walk down the road toward Mission, South Dakota in 1982 until she disappeared from her view. It was the last time she saw her.
In the 40 years since her sister Zetta disappeared, Keva has thought about her constantly and hoped she would return home. But in the last few years, that hope has started to dwindle.
“These last few years I cry more than I usually do for her because I’m older now. When I was younger, it was, ‘Okay, she’s gonna show up next year. Maybe, you know, she’ll come by or call me,'” Keva said.
Keva still recalls the last time she saw her sister all those years ago. At the time, Zetta had come to Keva’s home in Antelope to visit her son. She then told Keva she had to leave and see someone.
“I kept telling her, no, she could stay with me, and she kept telling me, I have to go see this person and I’ll be back,” Keva said.
A few days later, her sister returned. But then she left again.
“When she left, I stood out back in my backyard, and I watched her leave, and she went out of sight. And then I never seen her after that,” Keva recalled.
At first, Keva didn’t do anything when her sister didn’t return. It wasn’t uncommon for her to disappear for a few days, but Keva said she always showed up. Later, Keva said she would start to fill out the report and go to the police, but something would come up and she would be unable to finish.
Once Zetta disappeared, Keva began caring for her sister’s son in addition to her own eight children.
“But after all these years, nothing. Her son was two-years-old, and he’s in his forties now,” Keva said.
In the years since her sister went missing, Keva has found support through sweats and ceremonies as well as other people who also have missing loved ones. But as she grows older, she finds herself thinking of her sister more and more.
“I miss her,” Keva said. “My phone number has been the same… I have collect calls on my phone, she always called me collect. Haven’t heard nothing. Not a word. Not a letter. Nothing from her all these years.”
Having experienced a missing loved one, Keva said seeing other people go missing causes her to worry.
“Because I know how it is. And I know it hurts if you don’t know where somebody is,” Keva said. “So, when something like this happened, and they’re trying to support them and help them because we just went through that a few years ago with one of our stepdaughters and still today it really hurts.”
While Keva doesn’t know where her sister is, she does have a message for families so that they don’t have to go through what she has.
“People need to understand that if you got young girls watch where they’re at all the time,” Keva said. “And just keep in contact with your family. Even boys, young boys, you know, they go missing. People don’t think much of that. But they do. You know, every time there’s something happening, I’m calling my family, ‘Where are you at? What are you doing?’ You know, because you never know.”