Event highlights support to find missing people

by: Essex Porter Updated:

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Investigators call her Precious Jane Doe. This woman's remains have been unidentified for 40 years. Her killer was caught -- but her family was never found.

“We'd very much like for her family, wherever they may be, to know what happened to their daughter or sister or granddaughter,” said Snohomish County spokesman Kent Patton.

Two sisters approached us with hope someone has the clue that will find their mother, Esther Mae Gesler. She's been missing since 1976.

“I'm going next week and she's going now to see our grandkids and children and she, you know, she should be in the car with us, or we should be going to her house,” said an emotional Angela Bishop.

KIRO 7 investigators first dug into the story in 2009.

We traveled to the Philippines to confront Glenn Allan Bagley, who is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Gesler and two others.

“The only connection that I could see is that I know both people,” Bagley said then.

“That's bad enough that they are gone, but when you don't know what has happened. You just … there's just no rest,” said Tara Bishop-Ernst.

DNA is a key factor in solving cases. The Washington State Patrol relies on a nationwide DNA databank in Texas. But federal budget cuts forced it to close in January.

“It's important. It's a program that is nowhere else.,” said Carri Gordon, manager of the Washington State Patrol Missing Persons Unit.

A nonprofit organization called Victim Support Services helps families statewide.

“There's always hope. If anyone has any information, even if they think it's the most minor thing, it's not,” said Leslie McPherson, hotline services director for VSS.

McPherson says families of the missing can seek help through a 24-hour hotline by calling 888-288-9221.

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