Thanks so much for checking in on the search for Valerie Sifsof. New items posted on the Home page of www.valeriesifsof.com will also be cross-listed here to make information easier to find.
Update From Victor Sifsof November 11, 2012
Oct 19, 2012
NEWS REPORT FROM COASTAL TELEVISION
We are concerned about safety: a couple of volunteers didn't return at dark as planned and we were afraid they were lost, but they did find their way back. Safety has to be a priority because we don't want any one else hurt or lost. Some military personnel have volunteered to come out and help; we look forward to their assistance. Professional rafters will also be joining us to travel though the rapids and go further down stream than we've able to go in the past.
Valerie's family wants to thank those brave and generous volunteers who came out to help search for Valerie last weekend. Also many thanks to the news reporters and their editors/producers for continuing to inform the public and bring people together in looking for her. Those supporting the search through prayers are equally appreciated. This has truly been a community effort and words cannot express our gratitude. More detailed thank you's will follow in days to come.A lot more is happening the rest of this week. The Alaska State Troopers will be out in the Granite Creek Campground area where Valerie's sweatshirt was found, possibly with dogs, boats and helicopters, weather permitting. Depending on the results of their efforts, the Sifsofs and volunteer searchers will return with boats and ATV's again this Thursday thru Sunday.There is a great concern about safety. During last weekend's search, Val's siblings Trina and Victor Jr. were in an ATV accident. They are doing all right and will be helping in the search again soon. We don't want anyone else to be harmed, so please be very careful in our effort to find Valerie.
If you'd like to contribute in other ways, please visit any Wells Fargo Bank to make a donation to the Valerie Sifsof search fund, which will aid in buying gas, equipment rental, supplies, etc.
OCTOBER 8, 2012: Valerie's Sweat Shirt Found in Creek During Latest Search
LATEST ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS ARTICLE
Even after 2 months, her father "can't stop looking."
Published: September 17th, 2012 06:34 AM
Last Modified: September 17th, 2012 06:34 AM
Valerie Sifsof went missing on a drizzly July night at the summer-green Glacier Creek Campground on the Kenai Peninsula.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4344.
Family members are returning to the Granite Creek Campground and continue to search the area as autumn approaches and terrain visibility improves.
AUGUST 26, 2012
Valerie's father, Victor Sifsof, has continued to meet with Alaska police officials and politicians to strategize next steps. The Sifsof family and concerned community members are requesting that the Alaska Bureau of Investigation step in to conduct a serious criminal investigation into Valerie's disappearance.
The fact that family, friends, and law enforcement have throughly covered the area Valerie was last seen with not a trace or clue lead us to believe this is an abduction and/or homicide.
Unfortunately, the division of the Alaska State of Troopers that has been assisting with the search does not have the manpower or expertise to perform a complete investigation. Without obvious physical evidence of wrong doing, Missing Person cases such as Valerie's are not automatically handled as criminal investigations, as Val's family and the public originally assumed. When Valerie's family discovered, many weeks after she went missing, that possible witnesses had still not been contacted by law enforcement -- the campers who had been registered at the Granite Creek Campground the weekend of July 7th, where Valerie was last seen -- they began calling them themselves. Now they have a relatively fair idea of whom was there. However, possible witnesses were hesitant to speak over the phone with strangers, so in many cases the best the family could do was implore them to contact the and hope they will do so. This is one reason they are requesting state investigators step in.They extend a sincere thank you to State Representative Bryce Edgmon and family friend Walter Monegan, President of the Alaska Native Justice Center and former Anchorage Public Safety Officer: both are taking their valuable time to network with law enforcement officials and monitor progress. The Alaska State Troopers involved in search efforts continue to show concern, particularly Srg. Mike Zweifel, who has demonstrated great kindness from day one of the search, and Captian Andy Greenstreet, who is providing guidance on future efforts.The family is grateful to the Staff/Choggiung Board of Directors (http://choggiung.com/about/mission.asp) and the Dillingham community, where many of her relatives reside, for their support.
Thank you also for those who have donated funds and resources to the Search Fund at Wells Fargo Bank and the Reward Fund at the First National Bank of Alaska, which is up to $27,000 and will go to those who bring Valerie back safely, or provide information that leads to the arrest/conviction of those responsible for her disappearance. To make a donation, simply go into any branch of either bank and tell them you want to donate to the Valerie Sifsof Search Account.
The $27,000 REWARD still stands for those with information leading to her safe return or criminal conviction of those responsible.
.AUGUST 14 2012
- The Alaska Missing Persons Clearinghouse staff is helping to input vital record information into several national databases that will link with law enforcement and unidentified person reports across the USA.
- Bryan and Jim rafted Granite Creek and Six Mile Creek again this weekend and found dark clothing but did not belong to Valerie. Val's dad and the rest of the searchers combed other creeks and woods in the surrounding area.
- Banner placement continues with an even larger banner being placed at the Girdwood intersection and we will be contacting the Alaska State Fair officials on the possibility of placing another banner at the entrance to the state fair.
- There are a number of other contacts the family is making and plans on continuing the search which we will be updating in the near future.