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Missing, But Not Forgotten – Part Two

Posted at 10:42 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 23:43:32-04
The cases for three missing women from Northeast Wisconsin are still open and unsolved.
 
In our two-part series, we investigate deeper into the lives of Victoria Prokopovitz, Amber Wilde and Laurie Depies.
 
In Part Two -- we focus on Amber Wilde and Laurie Depies. 
 
Laurie Ehnert, Amber Wilde’s aunt, never imagined her closest niece would go missing and never, ever return home.
 
Wilde was a 19 year-old student at UW-Green Bay and pregnant when she went missing in September 1998. Her car was found in a parking lot near Lambeau Field, her purse, cell phone and were keys inside.
 
“Went up to packers games, walked around town to the bars, handed out flyers,” said Laurie Ehnert. 
 
There was never any sign of the teen. Green Bay Police have been handling the case and in recent months had new developments.
 
“We want to ask questions about where these individuals were the night Amber went missing,” said Det. David Graf, with the Green Bay Police Dept. 
 
Detectives Graf and Lee Kingston took over the case with a fresh set of eyes. 
 
Recently unsealed court documents reveal persons of interest -- the father of Amber’s unborn child and his friend.  
 
NBC26 is choosing not to name them as they haven't been charged.
 
Detectives say the two men won't talk with police.
 
“It's been a history of that with at least one of the suspects from the beginning,” said Det. David Graf.
 
“They're not hard questions,” said Det. Lee Kingston. “Not necessarily innocence or guilt, simply something you said here doesn't make sense. Or we found something, can you explain it to us?” 
 
Many searches were done in the effort to find Amber's remains.
 
A diary gave investigators clues into her life. She made entries about her drive to finish school and have her baby. Something Amber's family says the father was not in support of.
 
Here's how her aunt remembers her. 
 
“Just so outgoing, just enjoyed everybody, loved family. Very family-oriented,” said Ehnert. 
 
Detectives say they still get tips and they want that to continue. Nothing is ever too small; it might be what they need to solve the puzzle. 
 
“They might not think it's significant, but it might be the one thing we need to connect something else,” said Det. Kingston.
 
At this point they can't go forward legally, explaining the evidence and case they build must lead to justice. 
 
“You only really get one shot at a criminal trial,” said Det. Graf.
 
For the family, Amber’s aunt said they believe Amber is gone, but they want to bring her home.
 
“I'd rather have her, be able to put her to rest. It's inevitable, just to be able to do that,” said Ehnert.
 
In the Laurie Depies case, it's been more than 24 years since she vanished after working her shift at the Fox River Mall, and then going to her boyfriend’s apartment in the Town of Menasha.
 
More than five years ago, Larry DeWayne Hall confessed to killing Depies, but has not been charged in the case. He’s currently serving a life sentenced for kidnapping another girl. 
 
We spoke with Laurie’s mother a few years ago and she was hopeful at the time when the Wisconsin Department of Justice took over the case.
 
“Maybe they'll be able to shed some new eyes on the case, maybe something will come up,” said Mary Wegner.
 
In an email from the DOJ, they say the case is still open and they're actively investigating.
 
For Amber Wilde’s aunt, she said they're holding out hope that one day, they'll get closure.
 
“I'd rather have her, be able to put her to rest. It's inevitable, just to be able to do that,” she said. 
 
If you have information about Amber Wilde’s case, please contact the Green Bay Police Department 920.448.3221.
 
For information regarding the Laurie Depies case, please call the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice at 608-266-1221.