Unsolved: What Happened to 5-Month-Old Sabrina Aisenberg?

The parents of Sabrina Aisenberg, who disappeared 20 years ago, speak out, standing firm in their insistence they have nothing to do with her vanishing.

VALRICO, Fla. -- Tampa Bay is a place many of us call home, a place to enjoy.

But 20 years ago, in Valrico, a small community outside of Tampa was forever changed.

It was Nov. 24, 1997 -- a 5-month-old named Sabrina Aisenberg disappeared without a trace. The parents, Marlene and Steve, say when they woke up they found an empty crib. Their two other children were still asleep in their beds.

After a call with 911, a massive search was underway for the baby.

Watch: Reginald Roundtree covered the story when it broke 20 years ago

Fields were searched, nearby lakes and surrounding homes, too, but no sign of Sabrina.

After a few days, suspicion turned toward the parents. Interview after interview -- polygraph tests -- nothing was immediately found leading to charge Steven and Marlene.

At that point, the Aisenbergs hired high profile defense attorney Barry Cohen.

He says, "Soon we realized they had something else in mind. They wanted to blame the mother and father for killing or selling that baby."

Nearly two years later, investigators finally came out and said they have the evidence to charge and arrest the parents. Cohen says he suddenly learned how easy it was in this country to indict someone unfairly.

The Aisenbergs were indicted on perjury charges, not murder.

The case all centered around audio tapes obtained from secret conversations inside the Aisenbergs' home.

Prosecutors claimed to have incriminating statements on the tapes, but there was a problem. No one other than law enforcement could really understand what was on these tapes.

Watch: The Aisenbergs are arrested, indicted for conspiracy and lying to investigators

Two judges said they could not understand anything. Cohen says the detectives were lying.

The charges were eventually dropped, the Aisenbergs sued and won. But they were no closer to finding their baby Sabrina.

The Aisenbergs eventually decided the best thing for their family was to move away.

Move away from Tampa Bay

Now 20 years later, the Aisenbergs live in Maryland where they raised their two children, William and Monica. They agreed after all this time to talk to 10News face-to-face.

They told us the most important thing is still finding Sabrina.

"We knew we had nothing to do with the disappearance, we knew our family was not involved ... we knew we needed to start over," Marlene Aisenberg said.

Pictures of Sabrina are throughout their Maryland home.

They talked about the continued suspicion in Tampa and how when they went out, went to restaurant people would stare and talk.

But Steve Aisenberg  said, "When you’ve done nothing wrong, you know eventually the truth will come out."

Photos: Unsolved -- the search for Sabrina

The Aisenbergs say their focus now is not on the past but the future and finding Sabrina. They are working with the center for missing and exploited children with age progression pictures.

The similarities between Sabrina, William and Monica are astounding.

The Aisenbgers have also registered on a DNA data website in the hopes, that one day Sabrina may check one day.

"She (Sabrina) is now 20, we hope she’s been living in a place where she’s been taken care of and loved," Marlene Aisenberg said.

They will not give up hope until she is home with them.

Timeline: Unsolved: The search for Sabrina

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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