A vigil was held for Ieshia Jackson, an El Dorado woman missing since 2020, on Friday afternoon in the parking lot of Perry's Funeral Home in El Dorado.
Friday was Jackson's 26th birthday, a fact that hung over the vigil and the attendees, which included Jackson's mother LaQuita Parker and brother Jiqez Jackson, expressed hope, sadness, frustration and anger.
Speakers included former El Dorado mayor Veronica Smith-Creer, Parents United Against Youth Violence representative Ana Ford, Pastor Rory Green, members of the Young Artist Studio and LaQuita Parker.
Ford's organization, Parents United Against Youth Violence, has organized two marches seeking to curb violence in the community. A third march is planned for March 2024.
"Believe it or not, to Ieshia's family -- God is using her. If it wasn't for her, there wouldn't be much awareness of what's going on... He's using her in mighty ways," Ford said.
Smith-Creer read the names of other women missing from Union County -- Catherine Vasay, missing since June 1, 1979; Thwana Darrough, missing since Jan.11, 1989; Minnie Taylor, missing since 2002; Jacenthia Robinson, missing since 2003, and a moment of silence followed.
Parker, fighting back tears, spoke next.
"I thank everybody who made it on her birthday. She turned 26 today," Parker began.
"I would like to say -- those ones that know. I'm asking and begging. You can't keep hiding the truth. What's been done to her is going to come to the light. I'm asking - whoever did it, quit hiding your face and come forward. You know who you are, you know who you are, you know who you are," she said.
Pastor Rory Green ended the first part of the vigil, as candles were lit and held, with prayer and an offering for Jackson's family. Attendees gathered around the members of Jackson's family present at the vigil.
"We won't stop praying that Ieshia comes home; for this mother, for this brother, for this family. We won't stop drawing attention - but we want a resolution. We want a resolution. We're not going to forget, let it lie, dismiss it -- we want Ieshia to come home," Smith-Creer said, before leading the vigil in "Happy Birthday" for Ieshia.
The vigil then moved to the sidewalk beside N. West Ave and transformed into a march of sorts, as attendees brandished signs with messages like "Justice for Ieshia" and chanted "Say her name - Ieshia Jackson."
A group of marchers split and stood in front of the El Dorado Police Department, continuing the chants and adding phrases like "EPD -- where you at?"
Jackson went missing from El Dorado on October 31, 2020, when she was 22-years-old.
Two men were arrested in Dec. 2020 in connection with the case and were released without charge.
Attention has remained on the case in recent years thanks mainly to efforts by Parker and Jiqez Jackson along with a group of local residents. Jiqez Jackson appeared on the Steve Wilkos Show in an episode that aired Nov. 1 in an attempt to bring further awareness to the case.
An anonymous tip line has been set up for any tips regarding Ieshia or any of the other 4 missing women from El Dorado. The number to text tips to is 870-440-0000.
Anyone with knowledge about Jackson's disappearance or whereabouts is asked to contact the El Dorado Police Department at 870-881-4800.