It has been 42 years since seven-year-old Cheryl Hanson disappeared, but her family says they haven’t given up hope.
On May 31, 1974 Cheryl asked her mother if she could have a sleepover with her cousins, who lived 10 minutes away from their family farm.
“After supper around 5:30 in the evening. She wanted to go up the road to her cousins,” Patricia said.
“At first I said no. Not tonight. Not today. She kept wanting to go and I agreed.”
Cheryl packed her pajamas in a brown paper bag, put on her white leather shoes and red overcoat and walked down her driveway towards her cousin’s house.
“I had a terrible feeling after she had gone,” Patricia said.
“I called up and said, ‘Did she get there?’ and they said no she’s not here yet. I went running up the road. I thought she might have been hit by a car or something and that was it. I never saw her again.”
York Regional Police took on the investigation and witnesses came forward saying the saw Cheryl walking along Bloomington Road in Aurora, Ont.
“We have had several witnesses at the time that had seen different vehicles in the area. We have a witness that say they saw a girl with red hair walking down the street when they looked out their window but made nothing of it at the time,” said Det. Bob Athwal.
“It’s our opinion that she was abducted and met with foul play. To this date, Cheryl has never been located and there has never been any sightings of Cheryl Hanson.”
More than 400 people came forward to assist with the search for Cheryl.
“411 people at that time – let’s put it in perspective, it was 1974 – to have that much assistance from the public is valiant,” Athwal said.
But no trace of Cheryl was ever found.
Months after she went missing, Donald Harry Everingham was convicted for the sexual assault and attempted murder of another nine-year-old girl.
“Investigators went to speak with him and he confessed to the murder of Cheryl Hanson,” Athwal said.
But, when investigators took Everingham for a drive to locate the body, he recanted his admission of guilt.
“He never gave us an alibi as to where he was in and around that time,” Athwal said. “At best, Donald Everingham remains a person of interest.”
Everingham is currently living in a mental health facility.
WATCH: Extended interview with the Hanson family