One year later, Ylva Hagner still missing

Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 15, 1997

POLICE: One year later, Ylva Hagner still missing

Palo Alto woman disappeared from her office last year

Friends and co-workers of Ylva Hagner were scheduled to gather Tuesday, Oct. 14, to plant a tree in the foothills in her memory. The Palo Alto woman has been missing for one year, since Oct. 14, 1996.

But a year after she was last seen working late in her Belmont office, police aren't any closer to finding out what happened to Hagner, then 42.

Belmont police held a news conference last Friday to explain that they are still investigating Hagner's disappearance and are still getting occasional phone tips as to what happened.

Hagner was last seen by a co-worker at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, 1996. Two days later, on Oct. 16, her concerned co-workers called the Palo Alto police to report her missing. That launched the investigation by Belmont and Palo Alto police. Two days later, her car was found in San Carlos.

Police have declined to say much else, other than they are still searching and still interested in hearing from anyone who knows anything about her disappearance.

Belmont Detective Michael Speak said that there appears to be two possibilities at this point. The first is that she was abducted against her will. The second is that she voluntarily disappeared.

"We are definitely looking at the possibility she could be alive and well and just missing," Speak said.

In the meantime, police continue to pursue all possible leads, including sightings of women who match Hagner's description. "Fifteen or 20 people have reported seeing her," Speak said. Some of those women have actually been located and determined to not be Hagner, he added.

Police have even followed up on some tips called in by psychics, Speak said.

Hagner's family in Sweden has hired a private investigator, and have stayed in contact with the Belmont police. "Everyone involved in this is quite frustrated," Speak added.

Police interviewed a former boyfriend of Hagner's during the investigation, along with friends and co-workers. "Everybody is still being looked at," Speak said, but there is no suspect.

Hagner worked at Ixos Software, where she was a marketing manager.

Speak noted that a year or so before Hagner disappeared, a legal secretary at a Belmont law firm also went missing, triggering a search and investigation. That woman turned up six months later in Las Vegas when she saw a poster of herself and called her mother to tell her she was all right, and asked the police to stop looking for her.

Speak declined to talk about any evidence, including whether the police recovered Hagner's purse.

Several other police agencies, including Berkeley and San Francisco police, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI, along with the Palo Alto Police, have been active in the case.

Hagner's photo also has been distributed to other police departments around the state.

One ghoulish task Speak performs every day is to check a computer data base which records unidentified bodies found around the country.

"We will keep following leads as long as they come in or until they are exhausted," Speak said.

--Don Kazak

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