A parent’s worst nightmare is to lose a child, and that’s just what happened to a South Florida woman almost 30 years ago. As Patrick Fraser tells us in tonight’s Out for Justice, the case is cold, but Christy Luna’s mother and investigators say they’ll never give up.
WSVN — When you look at this 1984 picture of Christy Luna, you quickly notice the sweet smile of an adorable little girl.
Jennie Johnson: “She was so full of life and bubbly. She wanted to be a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins.”
In 1984, Christy was 8 years old, a third-grader in Palm Beach County.
Jennie Johnson: “Everybody loved her; she had so many friends.”
On a day in May, Christy and her family drove home from a long trip. Christy’s mother and sister laid down to rest. Eight-year-old Christy saw their cat needed food.
Jennie Johnson: “She went to the little store, which is 400 feet from my front door, to get cat food.”
Christy was seen in the store buying the cat food and a candy bar, then never seen again.
Detective William Springer: “Of course, there was no video back then we could find.”
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Detective William Springer worked on Christy’s case in 1984. He is retired now but still is trying to find out what happened to the 8-year-old who went to get food for her cat.
Detective William Springer: “We’ve developed suspects over the years, but without any physical evidence, an eyewitness, or an admission to somebody, we really have nothing to go on.”
Suspects were plentiful in Christy’s neighborhood. Suspects who were child molesters, like the neighbor who was later convicted of molesting Christy’s best friend, and the neighbor who bragged about Christy.
Jennie Johnson: “There was this Victor Wonyetye, who bragged about taking her. He’s since died of a heart attack.”
Detective William Springer: “He was a typical child molester. He denied everything, blamed everybody else, but [would] never admit to anything.”
Times were different in 1984. Today you can click on to the FDLE website to see if child molesters live in your neighborhood. Back in 1984 this site didn’t exist, and Jennie had no idea the danger her daughter would face by walking a few hundred feet to the grocery store.
Jennie Johnson: “I grew up here. My kids grew up here, and I thought it was a safe neighborhood. Never crossed my mind till after it happened, and I found out about all the child molesters that were around.”
Detective Springer suspects one of the child molesters saw Christy at the store and grabbed her.
Detective William Springer: “Molested her. Christy was a fighter. Maybe they didn’t mean to kill her.”
In all likelihood, that may have been what happened to Christy, but Jennie doesn’t want to believe that. Instead, she is hoping and praying.
Jennie Johnson: “I keep trying; never give up till she’s found. She wore these shoes. See the holes? She loved them.”
Jennie, of course, will continue to hope that the now 37-year-old Christy will walk back through the door she walked out as an 8-year-old.
Jennie Johnson: “I’m thinking that someday one of the leads is going to come in and I’m going to find my little girl.”
Detective Springer would love to see that happen, but he also has to face reality and continue to look for the person who could tell him what happened to Christy Luna in May 1984.
Detective William Springer: “We just keep looking for that right piece of information that’ll put us on the right track to the right person.”
Almost 30 years have gone by. If you know anything at all about what happened to Christy Luna, enough time has passed. Pick up the phone and call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
And if you have lost a loved one and want to remind people you are still out for justice, give us a call. With this Out for Justice, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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