Family members of an elderly Bishop woman who went missing almost two decades ago are offering a reward for any information that may provide some resolution in the case.
The Bishop Police Department investigated when Jennie Wyckoff, 90, disappearance 19 years ago, but the trail went cold and officials ultimately declared her dead after three years.
Earlier this year, Bishop Police Chief Chris Cater, at the request of the family, decided to revisit the case to see if modern technology could provide any new leads.
As Carter works his side of the case, the family is hoping someone in the community may remember something that could help the investigation.
âWe, the family, are offering a reward of $10,000 to anyone who finds the clue to this mystery that will allow the Bishop Police Department to close the case,â a statement from the family says. âIt is likely that a small item or distinct memory may bring an answer to this puzzle and then the daily thoughts of never knowing what happened to our loved may be closed forever.â
Wyckoff went missing from High Sierra Manor assisted living facility, her âMemory Care secure facility,â on Feb. 3, 1996. The facility was located at 371 S. Warren St., and later became Sierra Villa, and today houses the Inyo-Mono Association for the Handicapped offices and thrift store.
According to the family, Wyckoff âleft on a snowy, cold night âŠ wearing her night clothes and carrying nothing to keep her warm. Despite the best search efforts of this community, its service organizations and many volunteers in this county and beyond, no trace has yet been found.â
The Bishop PD ruled the investigation was a âcold caseâ and Wyckoff was declared deceased in 1999.
Earlier this year, Wyckoffâs family contacted the PD, asking that investigators reexamine the case, which had never been closed.
Carter is personally handling the investigation. He said earlier this year that he hopes new technology and the national DNA database can provide more clues as to the fate of the missing woman.
Staff at High Sierra Manor reported that Wyckoff had last been seen in her room at about 8 p.m. on the evening prior and was discovered missing when they went to check on her the morning of Feb. 3. During the initial investigation, police learned that Wyckoff was suffering from Alzheimerâs disease and had a history of walking away from the care facility.
The search for Wyckoff continued for several days and, according to Carter, every reported sighting was investigated. Hospitals and law enforcement agencies throughout California and Nevada were notified and both local and national media broadcast Wyckoffâs picture and description to the public.
âDespite these efforts, Jennie was never located,â Carter said earlier this year.
The case was reexamined in early 1997, but by that time, Carter explained, a civil action had been filed by the family against High Sierra Manor âand involved witnesses were reluctant to speak with investigators.â
While no clear indication of foul play was ever present, the possibility was never eliminated. The 1997 inquiry revealed no new leads or clues and the case remained dormant.
According to grandson Dave Mull, the smallest item, such as bone fragments or clothing, might be a clue that will provide the answer so long sought by the family. âThe family lives each day in the hope that some news will come which will answer the question of what happened on that ago February night.â
Anyone with new information is asked to contact the Bishop PD at (760) 873-5866 or Dave Mull at (760) 876-5586 or (760) 878-2354.