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Family marks four years since disappearance of mother, son

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Family members are keeping their search for answers alive four years after the disappearance of a mother and her son.

Nichelle McKnight, 25, and her 4-year-old son Zaden vanished in March 2014. Nichelle's body was recovered in the Stillwater River in Harrison Township, but her son has never been found.

Family members held a vigil at Triangle Park Saturday afternoon, which has become a yearly tradition near the anniversary of the pair's disappearance.

"We were in the living room laughing and talking," said Michelle Williams, Nichelle's mother and Zaden's grandmother. "And then she shortly got a text message, then a call, and then they just left."

That was the last time Michelle Williams saw her daughter and grandson on March 25, 2014. Nichelle's body was found weeks later in the Stillwater River in Harrison Township.

Investigators have said they believe Zaden is dead, but his body has never been found.

"It gets harder and harder," Williams said. "The pain gets deeper and deeper. Just not knowing where Zaden is - it makes it more rough."

The main suspect, Nichelle's ex-boyfriend Antwan Anderson, shot and killed himself following a police pursuit.

Tonisha Harris, who investigators believe helped cover up the crime, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse, and failure to report a crime.

Family members we spoke with said they believe there's someone who knows where Nichelle's son is.

"I didn't believe it until they came and told us that they found her body," said Jasmine Cade, Nichelle's sister and Zaden's aunt. "So that's probably when I'll believe that he's really gone. But until then, I think that he's still out there."

Although it has been four years since the mother and son's disappearance, family members say they haven't lost hope in their search for answers.

Michelle Williams said she believes, dead or alive, her grandson will someday come home.

"It's been time, time enough to process it all," Williams said. "But I'm still hopeful and prayerful that he comes back to us."

There is a $2,500 reward for any information that helps investigators find Zaden. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP (7867).

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