As the Dallas Police Department struggles to find clues, friends of missing Dallas woman Lisa Stone gathered Friday night to pray, sing and remember the Mesquite native whom they haven't seen or heard from since June 4. Clustered in small groups, they hugged and passed out bracelets and ribbons, all the while recounting, over and over, the last times they remember seeing Stone. Trying to figure out what happened to her, where she might have gone -- and who might be responsible.
As the once-ubiquitous Celine Dion hit "My Heart Will Go On" played softly near a table of "Looking for Lisa" T-shirts, one of Stone's Mesquite High School classmates, Rick Hurst, wondered if he would ever see the Facebook friend request that he submitted to Stone the week before her disappearance confirmed. "It's still on there."
Hurst is a couple years older than Stone, who was a drill team all-star, but he's become part of a tight-knit group of Mesquite High alumni who've united on Facebook and through candlelight vigils to search for the woman they reconnected with on the social networking site last year.
Stone's best friends -- women who, in the MHS Facebook group, are largely known by their maiden names and so offer their married names as a kind of aside -- have twice organized vigils outside the Far East Dallas home where Stone lived with her girlfriend. The Mesquite group has joined up with Stone's friends from the Dallas LGBT community -- the Dallas Voice broke the story -- for support and strength in numbers.
Collin County Commissioner Joe Jaynes, who attended Mesquite with Stone, spoke at the vigil. He encouraged her friends to use Stone's disappearance as a reminder to cherish every moment with each other -- just as Stone did. "Lisa was not a hand-shaker," Jaynes said, "She was a hugger." Jaynes also read a Bible passage, Isaiah 41:10, prefaced with a joke: "Here I am, a lawyer-politician, reading scripture. So don't be surprised if lightning comes down."
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A few of Lisa's close friends, Tammye Ritter and Tina Wiley, also spoke, though after months of TV interviews and Facebook pleas, Wiley admitted: "I'm starting to get a little weary." But, said Wiley, "I will not let go of this until answers are found." When that day will be, no one knows -- police pursued a lead that led them out to Hunt County last month, but nothing came of it.
Right now, it appears as though the trail is cold. DPD Senior Corporal Janice Crowther told Unfair Park Monday that "there is nothing new" to report in Stone's disappearance. Stone's friends will have to content themselves with memories of the bubbly drill team dancer for now.
"[Lisa] was -- is -- a really loving person," recalled Cathy Dean, who grew up with Stone and remembered playing together while their parents hosted domino games. Until Lisa Stone's fate is known, her friends will continue to wonder whether to speak of her in the past or the present.