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25 Years Later, The Heidi Seeman Murder Case Remains Unsolved 

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Still At It

click to enlarge Dottie Laster, who has experience combating human trafficking, is the Heidi Search Center’s executive director. - MICHAEL MARKS
  • Michael Marks
  • Dottie Laster, who has experience combating human trafficking, is the Heidi Search Center’s executive director.

There’s a nondescript building with a yellow awning on Naco-Perrin Boulevard in Northeast San Antonio where Dottie Laster works as executive director.

Inside, last week, Laster was in an office talking to a distraught couple whose child was missing.



This is the Heidi Search Center, which was formed to find Heidi. But even before the girl’s lifeless body was found, the center started helping another family whose little girl went missing on August 23, 1990.

Erica Botello, 7, was abducted while playing outside of the End Baptist Manor Apartments on West 35th Street. Authorities found her the same day they found Heidi. And like Heidi, Erica was abducted, raped and strangled to death, her body found in a storm drain about a mile from her home.

Three men were initially accused of killing Erica. One had an alibi. Another was released due to lack of evidence and a third was deemed mentally incompetent and committed to the San Antonio State Hospital.

While Erica’s and Heidi’s lives were needlessly taken, causing a lifetime of pain for their families, both girls’ legacies live in the center’s daily efforts to help thousands of people find loved ones over the last 25 years.

Its motto: “What started in tragedy continues in hope.”

There’s a large “Wall of Hope” in the lobby that features the faces of the missing.

click to enlarge The Wall of Hope at the Heidi Search Center documents local missing persons, including Erica Botello (bottom right), whose body was found the same day Heidi Seeman's body was discovered. - MICHAEL MARKS
  • Michael Marks
  • The Wall of Hope at the Heidi Search Center documents local missing persons, including Erica Botello (bottom right), whose body was found the same day Heidi Seeman's body was discovered.

“To let something evil turn into something beautiful, I think that’s an act of being a human, not a monster,” Laster told the Current. “We take up tragedy and turn it into the best thing possible.”

However, for families who have lost loved ones in the most horrible way, hope is important, but it can also be fleeting.

The Current couldn’t reach Heidi’s parents, who no longer live in Texas. But they spoke with WOAI-TV last week, telling the station they will privately mark the anniversary of Heidi’s abduction and murder at their home in Florida by eating Heidi’s favorite meal: macaroni and cheese and hotdogs.

They doubt their daughter’s killer will ever be found.

“But last year I realized that it’s going to be 25 years. So my head says no, after all this time it’s not going to be solved,” mother Teri Seeman told the station.

Saidler understands how hard life becomes for relatives of cold case victims.

Investigations may slow down as the volume of information and new leads decrease. But detectives are still at it, day in and day out.

“I would say that even though the families don’t hear from us all the time, they are never forgotten about,” Saidler said.

Want to help? Tips Turn Into Leads

Bexar County Sheriff’s Department
(210)-335-6010, bexar.org/600/Sheriffs-Office

Texas Rangers (Texas Department of Public Safety)
(800) 252-8477, txdps.state.tx.us/contact

San Antonio Police Department Cold Case Tip Line 
(210) 207-7401


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