KANSAS CITY – Fifteen years ago little Pamela Butler fought back, but it didn't stop her killer from abducting her in front of her Kansas City, Kansas home.
The events of the last 24 hours in Springfield brought back painful memories for Pamela's mother, Cherri West, who like another family, also lost a 10-year-old girl.
“She was outside front playing and he just reached out and took her, and she was gone,” West said.
The memories are still stark and painful for West, as she remembers the day in October of 1999 when she got word her 10-year-old daughter had been kidnapped while she roller bladed in front of their home
“They said she was screamin' and hollerin'. Her sister tried to help her, but he just got away,” West said.
The investigation is characterized as one of the biggest man hunts ever undertaken in the Kansas City area. But as officers searched for Pammy Butler, all her mother could do was wait, and plead.
“Please help me get my daughter back home safe, I don't want her hurt and I sure don't want to bury her. This is Pammy so if you see her, please help her get back home,” West said in the hours after the abduction in 1999.
It's only too clear to West what the family of Hailey Owens is going through.
“I can't really say anything, except I know how they feel. I know the pain, I know the hurt. This is only going to be the beginning,” West told FOX 4 on Wednesday.
Two days after Pammy disappeared, police arrested Keith Nelson on the banks of the Kansas River. A day after that, searchers found her body in Grain Valley
“I really had been worried about her eating, about her being cold. I don't have to worry about that no more,” West said after her daughter’s body had been found.
Fifteen years later, another 10-year-old girl lost to her friends and family, and for West, the pain comes back, as fresh as ever.
“My heart just broke. My heart just breaks for them, because I know exactly where they're at,” West told FOX 4 on Wednesday.
The feds took the case in 1999 because it crossed state lines. Keith Nelson pleaded guilty in federal court and a federal jury took less than two hours to sentence him to death. He remains on federal death row.