PORTLAND — The family and friends of a missing woman from Scarborough gathered in downtown Portland on Friday to pray for her return, or at least an answer to the mystery of her disappearance.

“There’s a lot of support right here,” said Lorraine Ela as nearly 100 people filled Congress Square.

Ela’s daughter, 22-year-old Megan Waterman, was last seen three weeks ago on New York’s Long Island. She hasn’t been in contact with her family or friends since the weekend of June 5, when she was staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, N.Y.

Family members said they know something happened to her, because whenever she was away from home, she would call her 3-year-old daughter a few times each day.

“I know there are people out there who know something. And we beg you, please, come forward and call police … so we can have Megan home,” said her aunt, Elizabeth Meserve.

Meserve prayed for a resolution, “good or bad. … Lead the police into the truth of what happened. If Megan is alive, I pray her captives release her.”

People in the crowd held lit candles, and some cried and hugged as Waterman’s family released pink and white balloons carrying leaflets asking for help in finding her.

“This is a vigil of hope,” said Cynthia Caron, president of LostNMissing Inc., which helped to organize the event. “We are here to help support the family. We want to keep the hope.”

Mark Drinkwater, pastor of the Windham Church of the Nazarene, prayed for Waterman and her family, and for some resolution. “That’s what we’re asking for, is a clear answer, an end to the mystery,” he said.

Family members and friends plan to release more balloons and hand out fliers in the parking lot of the Walmart in Scarborough this morning. They also hope to organize a vigil in New York to draw attention to the case there.

Ela, Waterman’s mother, said police in New York have shared no new information about her daughter’s disappearance. She said they are investigating advertisements on Craigslist, where police believe Waterman placed ads as an escort.

Waterman went to New York with her boyfriend, Akeem Cruz, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Ela said that Cruz left their hotel about 8 or 9 p.m. on June 5, and that Waterman said she was going out and would call him later.

After Waterman failed to call, Ela said, Cruz called her grandmother in Scarborough.

Cruz did not speak at the vigil. He was arrested this month in Portland on a charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
 Police say he slashed a car’s tires and threatened the car’s owner.

Waterman’s daughter was at the vigil, and Ela said the support would be helpful. “She’s had it rough,” Ela said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Scarborough Police Department at 883-6361, the anonymous tip line at 730-4200, extension 3093, or the Suffolk County N.Y. Police Department at (631) 854-8400.