Members of the Dublin community gathered for a candlelight vigil and walk Monday evening to mark the 23rd anniversary of Ilene Misheloff's disappearance.
Mike and Maddi Misheloff led the procession of the more than 100 people who came to show their support and walk more than a mile and a half from Wells Middle School on Penn Drive to Saint Raymond’s Church on Shannon Avenue.
Ilene Misheloff was 13 years old when she was abducted around 3 p.m. on Jan 30, 1989 while walking home from Wells Middle School in Dublin. She was last seen by classmates near the area of Shamrock Shopping Center on the corner of Amador Valley Boulevard and Village Parkway.
Carrying signs and glow sticks, residents made their way along the same route Ilene took the day she disappeared.
Neighbors along the route stood outside their homes, while some passing drivers honked their horns in support.
The Misheloffs hold out hope that Ilene will return and said they appreciate that the annual vigil helps remind the community that she is still missing.
“If Jaycee [Dugard] can come back, so can she [Ilene],” said Maddi.
Scott Greenberg, a San Carlos resident, has attended the vigil at least 10 times over the years. Greenberg went to high school with Mike Misheloff and remembers how things changed after Ilene’s disappearance.
“We were all really affected. The effect [of Ilene’s abduction] lingers on,” commented Greenberg. “Mike once told me it is like a bad dream you can never wake up from.”
Greenberg’s wife, Penelope, said after the abduction, they no longer allowed their daughters — who were close to Ilene’s age — to walk alone past the five houses down the street to wait for the bus.
Penelope said “After that [the abduction] we kept our girls on a short leash. We drove them to the bus stop and waited with them.”
Beverly Boas, a former Dublin resident, has attended the vigil and walks every year. She has a daughter who was a year behind Ilene in school. She still remembers when her daughter came home from school and told her Ilene was missing.
“When it happens in your community, you can’t even imagine. We haven’t given up hope,” said Boas.
Mayor Tim Sbranti, Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell, Dublin Police Chief Tom McCarthy and Dublin Police administrators also attended the vigil.
Saint Raymond’s Church held a service after the walk.
Suspicions have lingered that Ilene’s disappearance might be linked to two other female child abductions in the Bay Area.
According to Dublin Police Lt. Herb Walters, when Dugard was found, Dublin Police, in conjunction with Hayward Police Department (who were handling the Michaela Garecht case), obtained a search warrant for the Garrido residence.
Although no evidence linking Garrido to Misheloff’s disappearance was found during the search, Lt Walter's said Garrido has not been ruled out as a suspect.
There is a $95,000 reward for information about Ilene's disappearance.