KNOXVILLE - They say a mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It’s true for Constance Toliver.
Anything from her son is a treasure.
"I kept everything, when he was in first grade he made out of clay a little dinosaur,” Toliver said.
Report cards, poems and photos are all she has left of him.
“It was 17 years in February, the last time I talked to Charlie was February the 4th on Friday evening," Toliver recalled.
He’s been missing ever since.
An adventurous spirit, Charlie Toliver was a wanderer.
"The next thing you know he'd be calling us from Florida,” she said. “He'd always come back, he didn't stay gone. He’d be gone 2-3 months then he'd appear.”
This time was different. In February of 2000, the Tolivers received a phone call from one of Charlie’s friends saying he was in danger.
They went to the 30-year-old's home in Anderson County to search for him, but found nothing.
"I think one or multiple persons has done something very evil,” Toliver said.
What followed was weeks of conflicting stories, mysterious phone calls and different addresses.
"Where Charlie was at the time he disappeared and this trailer burned to the ground months after Charlie disappeared. Now that flies up big red flags right there,” Toliver explained.
Detectives never found a solid answer. Constance keeps in contact with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System for any signs of Charlie. She also keeps up a Facebook page.
"Because I remember and think about him every day. And I think how many days has it been, it goes through my mind. You’re not going to forget it, ever. No parent would forget,” she said.
Each day without him doesn’t go unnoticed. She says the not knowing is the hardest.
"At the end of the day you still have this heartbreak inside and this horrible feeling inside,” said Toliver. “There's nothing that helps, it's a horrible place to live in your mind and in your heart.”
Deep down, she wishes the red-haired, blue-eyed boy will walk through her doors again one day.
"I do hope in my heart. And my husband hopes that Charlie is out there somewhere living his life the way he wants to live it.”
For now she waits, holding onto hope and the things she has left.
If you have any information regarding this case, you can contact NamUs at 865-235-6523 or the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department at 865-463-6884.
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