Menomonee Falls woman missing for nearly three decades

CREATED Nov 8, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 8, 2013

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MENOMONEE FALLS - The story of Kelly Dwyer, and now Kathryn Stalbaum, hits very close to home for this family. Sandra Bertolas was last seen in 1988. Now, almost three decades later, they're still coping with the pain of not knowing where she is.

Sandra Bertolas's family never thought her disappearance would go on this long... 25 years.

"That’s the problem. It’s just never resolved,” explains her mother Dorothy Bertolas. “You just have to go on all the time, thinking, where is she? What happened?"

She was headed to break up with her then-boyfriend the night she vanished. A few days later, her car was found in the parking lot of a West Allis bowling alley. But Sandra was never seen again.

Her sister, Paula, doesn't think she's alive. But she's still holding on to hope that she'll be found.

“You kind of never give up hope,” says Paula Patoka. “Because, if you keep your faith going, you'll have hope."

The family, and police, have spent years searching.

"It’s something that’s on your mind constantly,” says retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Vogl. “You have to know how to leave it out of your mind some portion of your day. Otherwise it'll get the best of you."

Every time there's a story about another missing woman, it brings everything back for Sandra's family.

"When tears come to their eyes, they come to our eyes too. Heart to heart, we have the same feelings,” sympathizes another sister, Laura Duvernell. “We understand what they're going through."

The family knows it's a group that nobody wants to belong to.

"The father of this Kelly Dwyer, he said, ‘She can't just disappear off the face of the earth.’ And that's exactly how we felt," shares Dorothy Bertolas.

A detective is assigned to the cold case. If you have any information on Sandra’s disappearance, please call the Menomonee Falls Police Department.