By Tammy Schmier
Monte Vista- At a local restaurant in Monte vista, an elderly woman sat at her favorite table waiting for her special waitress.
"I wonder what happened to her," she said, looking wistfully at the picture of a beautiful young girl. "I wonder where she's at today?"
Her daughter held her hand, knowing the sadness she felt for her missing young friend. It has been 555 days since Danice Day has been home, since her two small children have been without their mother and no answers for her grieving family.
Eighteen months ago, Day disappeared from her home in Monte Vista. Foul play was suspected but nothing has been proven; questions remain.
In an interview last week, Rio Grande County Sheriff Brian Norton said that his case has been very tough for him.
"I came on a year after the investigation had begun and have spent many hours making sure I have all the information I need to continue," he said.
Norton said he is very anxious to solve this case and get answers for the Day family. He pointed to notebooks and binders full of information on the missing young woman and spoke candidly about his desire to assist in any way possible.
"I have offered to get a Danice Day task force operating, as well as organize with the search and rescue a volunteer effort, starting at the road and working our way up the mountain. I'm just waiting for the word," he said.
Norton said he feels like he is in the middle of a slow moving train when it comes to describing the case.
"I can't push the engine any faster than it's going," he said.
With sadness and frustration, he said that he has a hard time talking to the Day family every week and not have any news or information.
Norton said that a task force consisting of him, the D.A.'s office, the Attorney General and Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will get together as soon as possible to discuss strategy and move forward.
District Attorney Pete Comar said last Thursday that the newly formed task force will start at ground zero to see if anything has been missed or over-looked.
"We have put an enormous amount of time and effort in trying to solve this case," said Comar.
Shawn Woods, investigator for the district attorney's office, said that he has been aggressively involved in this case and works on it daily.
"At this point, we are waiting for all the documents that have been generated in this case so we can go over them and make sure we have all the information that is available," he said.
Woods stated that he spends a lot of his own time working on the case and has taken search dogs out looking for Day.
"I want very badly to solve t his case for Rod Day and his family," he said. "We need to get his case out in the public again. We need to get people thinking about Danice."
Being reminded of Danice's disappearance is not hard for family. Surrounded in his office at work by pictures of his only child, Rod Day said last Thursday that he thinks of his daughter "all the time."
As his eyes filled with tears, he said he can't help wishing for an answer.
"I guess I'm just an impatient father who just wants closure," he said.
Rod Day is hesitant to voice his disappointment with the case. When asked how long it has been since he saw Danice, he picked up a calendar from his desk and said "555 days, 79 weeks, or one week shy of eighteen months."
Day said that Norton is very aggressive and intense and is thankful for his persistence. He noted as well Woods has worked very hard.
"They are doing the best they can, given the circumstances," he said. "I don't have much contact with the CBI, I'm not sure what is going on there."
With the four agencies working together, Rod Day is hoping for that one break that will give his family closure.
We just want to know what happened to her and see that justice is done," he said.
For now the elderly woman sits at the table and waits for Danice to serve her food. Like others, she hopes for justice and closure in the case.