Tony Franco: Missing For 30 Years


Tony Franko

Tony Franko

“I've watched the coverage, but I did turn to my husband and ask, why couldn't that be Tony?” says Liza Ackerman-Stewart about the three women saved from forced captivity in Cleveland.

The fact that the three missing women were found after a decade fuels Liza's sense of optimism that one day her son Tony will be found.

There are pictures of what he looked like 30-years ago, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created an updated picture of what he would look like today at age 41.

"It seems like it happened yesterday," says Liza

Yesterday in fact happened in 1983 near Fremont Street in Lemmon Valley where the ten and a half year old was taken while walking to school.

In those days schools didn't call parents to say a child hadn't shown up, which means Tony was gone for at least six hours before Liza's then husband called to say Tony hadn't come home yet.

“When night falls I guess you know something is wrong and that's when we called the Sheriff,” says Liza.

25 years ago she divorced and moved to a home in Fallon.

One area of the house is dedicated to her son, with pictures, and scrap books, and the last mother's day present she ever received from her son.

There's a picture of Tony at the 4-H competition just one day before the abduction, showing his pony and prized rabbits.

She says her son developed a love of animals much like she has.

So many pictures, so many memories at the table.

It is where time stands still.

“I work at night and I have a 45 minute drive and to this day, my husband still don't know this, I still cry. And I cry half way home--thinking where is he, what happened, what did he do?,” says Liza.

She says she imagines someone took her son and raised him instead of her, but that doesn't stop her from thinking the worst as well.

At this point she says all she wants is to know where her son is. T

The "why" may ultimately though, be the tougher question to answer.

Washoe County Sheriffs Office currently has the Tony Franco file.

Listed as a cold case, Liza says the leads and alleged sightings stopped more than ten years ago.


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