Wanda Mays' brother talks to WAFF 48 News

Wanda Mays' brother talks to WAFF 48 News

After 22 years of not knowing, the family of a missing Valley woman finally has answers.

26-year-old Wanda Jean Mays disappeared May 12th, 1986.

On Wednesday, Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls revealed bones found in 2003 are indeed Wanda's.

For the last 22 years, her family's been strengthened by the thought Wanda could be alive and well.

WAFF 48's Rachel Hardman talked to Wanda's family in their first television interview since they got the news.

"Missing like that, not knowing, you gotta know," said Wanda's brother, John Mays.

It was May 1986 when Wanda Mays vanished after spending the night at her aunt and uncle's house in Guntersville.

A window was broken. Her blood and nightgown were found nearby.

Although there was speculation of kidnapping and murder, Wanda's brother says he knew what happened.

"You know the window was broken from the inside that she went out of. She had an attack and it was something that scared her. She would just get terrified when she had these attacks. She would just be terrified of everything," said John Mays.

He says Wanda's panic attacks were sporadic, but when they hit they were fierce.

Wanda had a chemical imbalance.

"I had come up to her to get a hug or something at one time and she was cuddled in a corner. She was just scared to death," said John Mays.

After years of searching, there was no sign of Wanda.

Then in 2003, human bones were found at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff, about two miles from her aunt and uncle's home.

Even then, the family didn't give up.

"Well yes this could be Wanda. What if it's Wanda? Wanda's still wandering around alive, we've just got to find her. She's had this memory loss thing. We're going to find her and everything's going to be ok," said John Mays.

Then Wednesday, Sheriff Scott Walls said DNA proves the bones are Wanda's.

The results are nearly 99-percent positive.

But after more than two decades of searching for his sister, John says he's not willing to stop just yet.

"That DNA still leaves a gap. I am still going to listen for Wanda's laugh in the crowd and look for that smile. Although she's aged 22 years, some of those things don't change," said John Mays.

But in his mind, he knows it's conclusive. He says he accepts Wanda is gone.

"It's good to bring it to closure and it's bad to lose a sister. She had this thing, this panic attack. But she was in God's hands. It was, it's ok. It's ok. I'll see her again," said John Mays.