With Heavy Hearts, Family Members Mark 5th Anniversary of Santiago Disappearance

Published: Jul. 12, 2007 at 10:11 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 12, 2007 at 11:01 PM HST
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By Minna Sugimoto

(KHNL) -- It doesn't get any easier with time. That's what members of a Hawaii family are saying, as they mark the 5th anniversary of the disappearance of three loved ones.

When we visited Gilbert Santiago on Maui, 11 months after the disappearance of his brother and two nephews, he was hopeful.

"We miss them very much," he said on June 11, 2003. "And we're always praying."

He never imagined he'd still be looking for Victorio Santiago and his sons, Noel and Daniel, years later.

"We feel all frustrated and sad, of course, because we miss them dearly," he said.

Noel was 11 and Daniel was seven, when they left their Pearl Harbor home with their father, a Navy sailor, in a rented car.

Honolulu police and Navy investigators conducted air and ground searches of Oahu, and traveled abroad to follow up on possible leads.

Five years after the disappearance, no trace of the three.

"Every time we have some family occasions, that's when we think about them, and even every day," Gilbert Santiago said.

Noel would be 16 years old today. Daniel would be 12. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released photos that show how they might look like now.

"It is really tough to see those photos, especially when you thought that they were just right next to you, and thinking about those memories that you shared together," Gilbert Santiago said.

Gilbert says his family isn't giving up.

"I'm just expecting that one day, who knows, they'll be in front of my door and calling my name," he said. "But, yes, I'm still positive."

Investigators say Victorio Santiago wrote several, disturbing letters before he disappeared. He apologized for what he was about to do.

If you have any information about this case, call police.