Relatives of Gayle Botelho clutched her photograph as they prepared to see the man charged in her slaying for the first time. Daniel Tavares, 47, was indicted on the single murder back in April and returned to Massachusetts to face a Superior Court judge on Monday.
"I kind of like, almost froze," said Botelho's sister, Beverly Souza, told reporters outside the Fall River Justice Center. "It made me feel like there was evil in the world."
The young mother of three mysteriously disappeared in October of 1988.
"Every time I saw somebody with her stature, her frame...I would go around the corner, check their face out. It was always wondering," said Souza.
Twelve years later her body was discovered, buried in the neighbor's backyard on June Street in Fall River. Tavares lived next door at the time, and had long been linked to the case, but always had an alibi. In April 2013 a witness changed his story, and Tavares was indicted.
Tavares is no stranger to the legal system. He is accused of killing his mother, and is currently serving a life sentence in Washington state for a double murder there. He was returned to Massachusetts where he pleaded not guilty to a crime he allegedly committed 25 years ago.
"He took away a life. He took away someone who was loved. After all these years it still hurts," said Botelho's sister, Cindy Vanasse.
Botelho's family says they never gave up hope they would see justice, but know nothing can the time they've missed with her.
"There are Christenings, and baptisms, and first communions, graduations...and she'll never be able to enjoy any of that with us," said Vanasse.
Tavares is being held without bail. He is due back in a Massachusetts court room on October 16th.