A year later, missing South Elgin teen's mom wants to know what happened

  • Fiona Galvin is trying to cope with life after her oldest daughter Kianna vanished from their South Elgin home one year ago.

      Fiona Galvin is trying to cope with life after her oldest daughter Kianna vanished from their South Elgin home one year ago. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • After one year of searching and waiting, Fiona Galvin is trying to cope with the thought her daughter Kianna might not return to their South Elgin home.

      After one year of searching and waiting, Fiona Galvin is trying to cope with the thought her daughter Kianna might not return to their South Elgin home. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/6/2017 3:59 PM

It's been a year since South Elgin teenager Kianna Galvin disappeared, and her mother is beginning to wrap her mind around the unfathomable -- that she may never see her again.

"I want to know what happened," Fiona Galvin said. "I want her home ... but it's looking like a bleak outcome that it's been this long."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kianna vanished May 6, 2016, after she left her house on Concord Avenue at about noon, telling her younger sister she was going to nearby Jim Hansen Park.

Police don't believe she ran away, relatives and friends have not heard from her, and her social media accounts have remained silent. Her 18th birthday came and went in July.

Kianna Galvin of South Elgin has been missing since May 6, 2016. She turned 18 in July.
Kianna Galvin of South Elgin has been missing since May 6, 2016. She turned 18 in July. - Courtesy of Fiona Galvin

At some point after her disappearance, a neighbor told police he saw Kianna enter a house about a block away, where a friend of hers lived, Fiona Galvin said. Police executed a search warrant there in November; South Elgin police Sgt. Mike Doty declined to confirm that or say whether the search produced any results.

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South Elgin police, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, conducted their latest search for Kianna on April 29 in several areas of the village, including along Route 31 and Stearns Road. "As of right now, nothing was found," Doty said.

The one-year mark has been especially difficult, Fiona said. "It doesn't feel like it's my real life," she said, "but it is."

She will hold a remembrance for Kianna from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday in her front yard at 72 Concord Ave., where she wants to plant a little garden and ask people to share favorite memories of her daughter.

Life has been moving along in a sort of fog, Fiona Galvin said.

During the day, she focuses on work and raising Miah, now 16 and a sophomore at South Elgin High School. Their relationship suffered during those first devastating weeks and months but is now flourishing again, she said. "I'm so more protective of her now than I ever was before."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Miah even persuaded her mother to adopt a second dog in February. "I didn't want to, but anything to make that child happy is OK with me," she said.

At night is when things get really hard, as her mind starts buzzing, Kianna's mother said.

"I don't go over a lot of memories," she said. "I go over a lot of action plans. What did I do right in the beginning? What do I do now? ... And still making it relevant to the public."

She watches the TV show "Disappeared" and rarely gets more than four hours of sleep. She often ends up sleeping on the couch, hoping she'll hear the garage door open.

The one thought she can't stomach is Kianna falling into the hands of sex traffickers. In that case, she said, "I would prefer to know she's at peace."

Fiona Galvin says police didn't respond quickly enough when Kianna disappeared, but she's now satisfied they are doing all they can.

Police have followed leads as far as Michigan and Florida, and there have been several calls for DNA matches across the country, but nothing has panned out.

South Elgin police have worked the case with assistance by the U.S. Marshals Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and several local and state law enforcement agencies, Doty said. "Thousands of hours have gone into this," he said.

Fiona Galvin hasn't touched anything in Kianna's room, a basket of clean laundry still sitting on the unmade bed.

"I can't go in there," she said. "My mom always asks me to go in there and make her bed. I can't, because I smell her in there -- her clothes and her perfume."

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