LOMPOC, Calif. - The death of a Lompoc woman remains a mystery 20 years later. Dana McPeek's family is still looking for answers.
"It is very painful to lose a child," Dana's mother, Ruth Whitaker said. "I loved her very much."
Dana was last seen the night of May 3, 2001. Her family has lived through the pain of not knowing what happened to her for two decades.
"I think that closure is more of a distant whisper," Dana's sister Randy McPeek said.
Randy McPeek says Dana had a lot of friends and if you knew her youngest sister, you would have liked her. She thinks her sister was killed by someone she knew and was comfortable giving a ride to.
"I think she either gave that person a ride or that person asked for a ride," Randy said.
The pickup truck Dana was driving was found the next day near a Lompoc apartment complex, but Dana was never seen again. There were no signs of struggle inside the truck and a partial thumbprint was not enough for an arrest.
Ten years after Dana's disappearance, a portion of her jawbone was found in a remote area of Miguelito Canyon in Lompoc.
"No suspects have been identified at this point," Lompoc Police Sergeant Vincent Magallon said. "At this time we're still unsure what occurred to Dana, whether an actual crime occurred or whether she just happened to pass away from other causes."
Randy feels frustrated that the case is still unsolved two decades later, despite giving possible new leads.
"The latest was a cell phone that was produced, given to me by someone to have claimed that there was a message on that cell phone from the person who allegedly killed her," McPeek said.
Magallon said the case is looked into periodically to "see if there's any new information that may have been missed by previous investigators." Magallon said he would look into the cell phone claim, and any new information that's brought forward is welcome and potentially helpful.
"These are times when we usually get new information from the public that will hopefully lead us to a good lead that we then follow up on and pursue as much as we can," Magallon said.
McPeek's family has this message for anyone who may know something about Dana's disappearance:
"That it's never too late to come forward because it means so much for our family to have that relief, to have that knowledge," Randy McPeek said. "To have something. That glimmer of hope."
Anyone with information regarding the case can call Sergeant Vincent Magallon with the Lompoc Police Department at 805-875-8121