Monday, September 17, 2012


Even after 2 months, her father "can't stop looking."
Valerie Sifsof went missing on a drizzly July night at the summer-green Glacier Creek Campground on the Kenai Peninsula.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Valerie Sifsof has been missing since Saturday, July 7, 2012, when she walked away from the Granite River campground along the Seward Highway.

The other day her family friend Gloria Chythlook went back to the campground south of Turnagain Pass. She picked cranberries along a creek near where Sifsof was last seen. The tall grasses had yellowed and wilted. Leaves were starting to fall.
She's been missing for more than two months. Sifsof's family members now measure the time she has been gone in seasons.
They hope she is still alive: abducted, maybe. They fear she is the victim of a homicide.
They feel increasingly sure that she is not in the campground area, which they've scoured dozens of times. But that does not stop them from returning weekend after weekend to float the creek and walk the woods. With little else to go on, they are drawn back to the place where Sifsof was last seen.
They search for any small sign that will lead them out of the void faced by families of the missing: How could a vibrant, 43-year-old woman suddenly cease to exist?
"I can't stop looking until I'm sure," said her father, Victor Sifsof.
Valerie was camping with her boyfriend, Eliot Freeburg, at the campground on the night of July 7. She was last seen leaving the couple's campsite after they had argued sometime around midnight.
In the past two months, Victor, who lives in Dillingham but has been staying in Anchorage, has filled binders with maps and collected details of the day his daughter disappeared.
Alaska State Troopers say their active, on-the-ground search phase is over but they continue to follow up on leads. That includes getting in touch with others in the campground that night. Some have been forthcoming and easy to reach. Others have not.
The physical search has yielded few clues, said trooper Capt. Andrew Greenstreet.
Troopers plan to fly over the area with a helicopter again just before freeze-up, Greenstreet said. They may also use trained body-sniffing dogs to float the river once more."(The investigation) is active but it's not as active as we'd like it to be," he said.
Victor Sifsof said he is in touch with troopers every few days.
They are doing the best that they can with what they have, he said. But he thinks they're understaffed.
Family members, including Valerie's five siblings, have compiled a website with the help of a volunteer. On it they post photos of Valerie, updates on the search and links to media reports.
They unfurled a 12-foot-long banner with Valerie's name and story on it at the Alaska State Fair. A network of friends drove the Alaska road system, hanging fliers with Valerie's face on them anyplace that would allow it.
Weekends, they travel to the Peninsula. By now, Victor said, Valerie's brothers have floated the creek near the campground 12 or 13 times.
Once they found clothing that seemed similar to the dark sweatshirt Valerie was last seen wearing. But it didn't match.
The family fears living without an answer years or decades later. They are haunted by cases like that of Erin Gilbert, a tall, striking 25-year-old nanny who went to the Girdwood Forest Fair in 1995 and has never been seen or heard from again.
Bristol Bay commercial fishing season, during which Victor makes most of his income, came and went. He missed most of it.
Valerie's siblings have had to go back to their jobs.
In August, a bright spot in an otherwise dark summer arrived: Valerie's sister Ashley Sifsof gave birth to a 9-pound, 5-ounce baby boy she named Ashton Dwayne-Val Sifsof.
Before she disappeared, Valerie had been in charge of planning the baby shower.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.

Read more here:

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012 Update

"Valerie Sifsof's brothers Bryan and Jim Sifsof rafted Granite and Six mile Creeks this past weekend, but the helicopter search in that area was postponed to next weekend due bad weather and rain.  

Investigators are working on a number of fronts, including interviews with all campers in the area during the time frame of Val's disappearance. The family gathered a substantial amount of relative information on Valerie's disappearance, which was all turned over to Sgt. Michael Zweifel.

The overall plan is continue a systematic search with boat, air and foot as the weather, terrain and weather level permits.

We will be requesting updates on the investigation from Sgt. Zweifel with hope and prayer that positive news will come in the near future."



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Update

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation will now coordinate the investigation into Valerie's disappearance and work closely with Sgt. Zweifel, who will prioritize and take over the investigation. He can be reached at (907) 783-0972. He has been involved in the search efforts since day one and continues to be communicative and helpful and we are confident he and his team will do a very complete investigation. Thanks to Col. Mallard and Capt. Greenstreet of the Alaska State Troopers who met and communicated by phone with Val's father Victor this week and agreed to authorize an aggressive investigative effort. 

Many thanks to Jeweline Lakshas for obtaining two large banners, 4x12 feet in length, which will be hung near the fairgrounds. The company making the contribution of the banners wish to remain anonymous, so please thank them in your hearts.  

Stephanie Johnson of The Missing Person Clearinghouse, along with family member Monina Willis, has taken the lead on collecting data to input into the Department of Justice Missing Person Data Base and similar national, internet based search engines. If you search for Valerie Sifsof's name, you will find an entry; fingerprint, DNA and medical information are in the process of being added. Thanks to Eliot, Brian, Jim, Dorothy and Amy for assisting.  

Family members are returning to the Granite Creek Campground and continue to search the area as autumn approaches and terrain visibility improves. 

Thanks to Chris and Florence Kenney in Juneau for hanging fllyers and Gloria Cernann for their help.  Thanks go the many who called and sent messsages to family from far and near.  Valerie has also been added to many prayer chains.

Please see earlier posts if you have not already read them to get more details and see who has donated their invaluable time and resources to help with the search for valerie.