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Mother seeks answers after daughter missing for 20 years

March 4, 2021, marks 20 years since Bethany Markowski disappeared from Jackson, Tennessee at 11-years-old.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Bethany Markowski was visiting her father, Larry Markowski, for the weekend when her mother, Jonnie Carter, got a call from her father saying Bethany was missing.

Larry said the pair were at Old Hickory Mall in Jackson when Bethany went in to shop while he took a nap in the car. When he woke up, he said he couldn't find her. 

Now, 20 years and thousands of tips later, Bethany's family is still searching for answers.

According to investigators, when the surveillance footage from the mall was checked, Bethany could not be seen on any of the footage, from any of the stores in the mall. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Bethany's family are still searching for clues to where Bethany may be. 

When she was last seen, Bethany was 4'8" tall and 95 pounds. She had brown hair and blue eyes. NCMEC forensic artists created an age progression photo of what she could look like now. It is below: 

Credit: NCEMC

Her mother wrote Bethany a letter to mark this anniversary. 

"Dear Bethany,

I cannot believe another year has passed without you here.  I never thought we would be here, 20 years later, wondering where you are.

The day you went missing is seared in my brain, every second of that day plays through my head. Could I have done anything to prevent this from happening?" 

The family experienced a glimmer of hope when a young woman in custody in East Tennessee had said her name was Bethany Markowski. 

"When I looked at the picture of this girl, I think my brain knew it was not you, but my heart was praying so hard that it was," Carter wrote.

The family advocated to pass a bill in the state legislature in honor of Bethany to make March 4 "Tennessee Missing Children's Day." Families from across the state come together to release balloons with pictures of Tennessee's missing children attached.  

If anyone has information about Bethany Markowski, you are urged to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) at 1-800-TBI-FIND, that’s 1-800-824-3463 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, that’s 1-800-843-5678.