GRANITE FALLS — Angie Gilbert’s family has struggled to find the balance between hope and survival.
They’ve spent the past year hoping someone would find their daughter, sister and mother.
They’ve also tried to learn to live without her. No matter what, they just want to know what happened.
Angela “Angie” Marie Gilbert was last seen June 2, 2011, near Granite Falls.
She was 42 and a mother of six.
“It’s been the hardest year of our lives, and I hope and wish nobody ever has to go through it,” said her sister, Melissa Hurd, 40, of Mill Creek.
Gilbert was a beautiful, caring and loving woman, said her mother, Pam Cope, 59, of Lake Stevens.
Gilbert sometimes took wrong steps in life but always came back to her family. Before she went missing, she had been drawn back into a world where she made “unfortunate decisions,” Cope said.
Always, though, Gilbert was someone who took care of others, and looked out for them, Hurd said. The two sisters grew up together in Snohomish County and Alaska. They fished and played outside.
“The one constant with Angie is that she always was willing to give her shirt off her back, and she was always willing to help the underdog,” Hurd said. “Even if she was battling things that made her the underdog, she was always the one that helped the ones below her.”
Snohomish County sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives have declined to discuss their investigation into Gilbert’s disappearance.
Police were told Gilbert went missing after a walk with Colt Lee White, 23, of Granite Falls.
White was found dead weeks later in the South Fork Stillaguamish River, his death attributed to probable fresh-water drowning.
Gilbert’s family has learned little else since, said daughter, Alyssa Gilbert, 21.
“It’s been really trying,” she said. “We’re all really, really close now, so it’s brought us together in those ways. Holidays, we always try to keep any negative out. We try not to bring it up, but we always try to find a way to commemorate.”
The family has drawn strength from people who’ve supported them and stood by them, Alyssa Gilbert said. Many post messages and thoughts on the Facebook page, “Missing Angela Gilbert,” which has nearly 1,500 followers.
Cope said she also is grateful for the detectives, who have followed every lead and become like family.
Angie Gilbert’s family plans a candelight vigil for her at 8 p.m. Saturday at North Cove Park in Lake Stevens, behind City Hall. People are invited to share memories and prayers. The family also hopes the vigil will remind people about the police investigation, and urge anyone who knows something to come forward.
Alyssa Gilbert keeps a “missing” poster for her mother in the back window of her car, hoping that will spark a memory, she said.
Angie Gilbert loved watching her children grow up and develop their own personalities, Alyssa Gilbert said.
Before she went missing, she wrote a letter to Alyssa Gilbert, the daughter she called her “guiding light.”
The letter read: “I can never be too lost when I’m anchored to a light so bright.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela “Angie” Marie Gilbert was last reported seen June 2, 2011, near Granite Falls. She was 42.
Gilbert is described as white, 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 120 pounds. She has blond, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white down coat, blue jeans and black Vans tennis shoes with pink laces.
Anyone with information is asked to call 425-388-3845 or CrimeStoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Callers can be anonymous. Reward money is available.