Unsolved: 30 years later, Dublin teen's whereabouts a mystery

At 13, Ilene Misheloff was already an accomplished skater.  The 8th-grader was often seen lacing up at Dublin Iceland.

"She was skating 20 to 30 hours a week," said her mother Maddi Misheloff.

Ilene first took to the ice at age 4.

Over the years, she quickly proved herself, competing against the likes of future gold medalist Kristi Yamiguchi. 

Ilene gave it her all, perfecting maneuvers like the flying camel spin and double jumps. Ice skating is physically demanding, and Ilene never missed practice. She was so dedicated, she was allowed to leave school early.

"Practices and ice dancing, figures and freestyle," her mother said. "She didn't need to be at P.E. in school."

On the afternoon of Jan. 30, 1989, Ilene left Wells Middle School and headed home to grab her gear for practice.  She started her walk around 2 p.m.

"Her coaches were supposed to pick her up around 3:30," Maddi Misheloff said.

But Ilene never made it home. Hours became days. Weeks became years. It's now been three decades since she disappeared and was possibly kidnapped. No one knows where she is. 

"When  think of her and when I visualize her, I think of her as 13 years old," said her father Mike Misheloff.

Memories of Ilene stop as a teenager, but Maddi and Mike Misheloff believe their daughter could still be alive. She'd be 43 now.

"What keeps me going is the hope she's coming home," Maddi Misheloff said. "We don't have any evidence, hard evidence to the contrary. So everyday I put my feet on the floor - gets me out of bed - and I say, 'This is the day she's coming home.' "

Her parents say its cases like Jaycee Dugard, who emerged after 18 years, that give them hope..

"When that occurs, it just gives us..helps us, gives us a burst of energy," Mike Misheloff said.

KTVU retraced Ilene's mile-and-a-half path back home. 

From Wells Middle School, Ilene walked west along Amador Valley Road. It cuts through a residential neighborhood before opening up to a busy commercial district.

Witnesses say they last saw her at the corner of Village Parkway and Amador Valley Boulevard. But what happened afterward, is anybody's guess.

But her mother says there was a chance encounter with a family friend a few blocks closer to home.

"She saw Ilene walking home and stopped her, asked if she wanted a ride, and Ilene said, no the weather is good, she'd walk," Maddi Misheloff said.

An intriguing clue found during the search - Ilene's key chain was located in this dry creek bed in a park not far from her home. Kids used the park a short-cut.

Ilene's parents still live in the same house on a quiet cul de sac. They've kept her room just as she left it, with her skates and medals still inside. 

"So she knows, when she comes home, nobody ever changed anything," her mother said. "It's her world, and it's up to her. Granted none of the clothes in there fit her anymore, but that's her space." 

Throughout Dublin, reminders that Ilene, the girl with the braces and wavy dark hair, who wanted to be a pediatrician, is still missing.

A back window of her parents' car still has Ilene's picture and reward poster.

Signs hang on the wall at the Dublin Police Department, in a city where kids just don't vanish

"I just don't know how her family does it," said Ilene's friend, Liz Allen. "How they could possibly not know where their daughter is?"

"It's just unfair," Allen said. "It's really not fair because they're such a great family. I just really hope that they can find Ilene and find the answers."

For Dublin police Det. Sgt. Daniel McNaughton, this case has special significance. 

"I grew up in this town. I remember the day Ilene disappeared," McNaughton said. "Nothing would satisfy me more than bringing a positive resolution to this case, to the family, nothing."

The case has been passed on from one detective to another over the years. At one point, Sheriff Greg Ahern worked the case when he was a sergeant in Dublin. 

Investigative reports fill entire file cabinets at the police department.

"We're just as dedicated today as we were 30 years ago in solving this case," McNaughton said, adding, "It's not a cold case. It's an active investigation for us here at Dublin police for sure."

Ilene's parents say it's never too late to speak up.

"We just want somebody to come forward with what they saw, even if they don't think it was important, and you don't have to give a name. They can do it anonymously," Maddi Misheloff said.

"For us, giving up on your child isn't an option. And we're still looking for her and that she's out there somewhere," she said. "And we need to find her."

The Misheloff family, Allen and police will be among those who are taking part in an annual candlelight vigil, walking the path Ilene was taking when she disappeared.