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Missing student Donna Jou's family has new info in case

October 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friday would have been Donna Jou's 24th birthday. She's the college student who disappeared more than four years ago, and her remains have never been found.

Her family claims they have new information in the case. But authorities appear unconvinced.

"My daughter is out there somewhere, she needs to be rescued," said Jou's mother Nili. "In any way, alive or dead, she needs to be rescued."

"Happy birthday my baby," said Jou's father Reza. "You are foremost in our thoughts. We will never forget you."

Jou disappeared in 2007. Registered sex offender John Steven Burgess said he gave Jou drugs at a party and she overdosed. He made a stunning admission in court, saying that he put her body in the ocean.

Burgess was released from prison back in April after serving two years of a five-year prison term. He was sent to Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles to serve time for a misdemeanor.

"A criminal can murder someone's child and get away with it, what kind of message that we are giving to these criminals?" said Nili Jou.

The family says they now have a new tip that Burgess might have lied, and that Jou is perhaps buried somewhere in the Palms area of Los Angeles. The family wants the district attorney to investigate.

"It might require search warrants and other documentation that they need to find to start finding my child," said Reza Jou. "But according to authorities, they said the case is closed."

The district attorney said it has looked into the family's claims, but there isn't enough evidence to re-open the investigation.

"What they have asked us to do is not back up by any evidence or justification to proceed," said Sandi Gibbons from the L.A. County District Attorney's Office.

Burgess could be released from the L.A. County Jail by December. The family says they will be there to watch him and they say they will not rest until they find their daughter.

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