20-year-old Sandra Bertolas lived in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with her parents and siblings; she was the baby of the family as the youngest of eight. Sandra was a beautician who loved to express herself with makeup. She worked as a hairdresser part-time while she took classes to earn her business degree. Sandra dreamed of a life in New York with a career in fashion design.
On April 24, 1988, Sandra attended a bridal shower with friends. While there, she confided in them about her boyfriend of three months, whose identity has never been revealed to the public. Sandra said he refused to meet her family or friends and always insisted she meet him halfway. Suspicious, she ran his license plate and discovered that he had given her a fake name. Not only that, but Sandra also learned that she was the other woman; her so-called boyfriend already had a long-time girlfriend.
Sandra also dropped a bombshell: she was pregnant.
Fuming, Sandra returned home at 7 pm, called her boyfriend, and confronted him about his lies. A friend of hers later reported that Sandra said her boyfriend called her three times that day and begged her to see him. When Sandra told him she didn't want to waste gas, he offered to pay for it.
At 8:15 pm, Sandra told her family she was going to confront him and took off in her white SUV. He later admitted speaking to her on the phone that night but claimed he hadn't seen her all week.
Sandra always called her parents to let them know if she was running late for curfew but this time, no call came and she never returned home. Her parents reported her missing that same night.
Three days later, a girlfriend found Sandra's car in the parking lot of Red Carpet Lanes, a local bowling alley where Sandra often left her vehicle if she planned to carpool with friends. Loved ones said her car was her most "prized possession" and that she never would have willingly abandoned it.
In June 1988, a tip led authorities to Mount Olivet, a mortuary just 3 miles from the bowling alley, and scent-sniffing dogs tracked Sandra to a disturbed plot, however, nothing was found inside.
One of Sandra's sisters was searching for clues in her bedroom when she found a napkin on top of her dresser with an address written on it. The address took them right back to the mortuary and it was soon discovered that the caretaker was the father of Sandra's boyfriend. At the time, her boyfriend was an EMT training to become a firefighter. He was also a former employee of the mortuary himself.
On the day Sandra went missing, her boyfriend called in sick for his 4 pm to 12 am shift. He claimed he spent the day with his girlfriend and she corroborated his alibi. He denied knowing that Sandra was pregnant, however, friends and family said Sandra told them that he was in fact aware.
A few days after the initial interview, Sandra's boyfriend called investigators and said he needed to change a few details about his story, however, the next call they received was from his lawyer, who stated that he would no longer be cooperating. His home was searched but nothing was found.
In 2002, a judge ordered a secret probe and several witnesses were called to testify before a grand jury, however, no indictments were issued. 34 years later, the search for Sandra continues.
Sandra was last seen wearing either a black and white jacket or a blue tweed jacket, black pants, and a large white purse. She is 5'6" and 150 lbs with brown hair, and blue eyes.
If you have any information, contact Menomonee Falls PD at 262-532-8700.
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