Nearly 26 years have passed since Angela Chan went missing.
“She was a mix of a tomboy, but feminine,” her sister, Wendy Henrikson, says. “But she was tough.”
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says it’s still a missing person case, because they’ve never been able to find a body.
But Wendy believes otherwise.
“There’s no mystery about it,” she says.
The 19-year-old Redmond woman disappeared on March 27, 1989.
Through public records, and accounts from detectives and family members, here’s what we know:
Angela and her husband, Bruce, were separated. She was engaged to another man. Bruce was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Angela was living at her parent’s house on Southwest Lava Avenue in Redmond.
Wendy says Bruce drove up from Southern California for Easter weekend.
“My mom, Nancy, says to Angela, ‘When he gets here, you’re going to put your foot down and say that’s it,'” Wendy recalls. “‘No more games, and tell him you are through and you are done with him.'”
Nancy told detectives she saw the estranged couple pull away from the house Sunday morning. Bruce later told detectives they went trap shooting. Two days later, her family and fiance started looking for her.
Angela’s fiance started driving toward Redmond on Highway 126, and Nancy started driving toward Sisters. Near Cline Falls, she spotted Angela’s car, left abandoned with its window smashed out. The car had a full tank of gas. Angela’s coat and purse were inside.
Sheriff’s Detective Tim Leak says there have been several people they’ve interviewed as persons of interest.
Leak worked on the case back in 2005 for about two years. He would not say whether Bruce was ever a suspect in the case – only that he’d been interviewed several times. Wendy says she knows who Angela’s killer is, and so do detectives.
“We may share the same sentiments as the family, but then it comes down to being able to prove it and make it stand up,” Leak says.
Former DA Mike Dugan took office a few years after Angela disappeared.
“They have a suspect, but they just don’t have enough evidence to go through with an indictment or prosecution,” he says now.
Several witnesses claim they saw Angela’s car and a woman matching her description around the Cline Falls Bridge — after Bruce says he headed back to California.
Former sheriff’s detective Myrna Homan worked on the case for about four years. She says it’s always been black and white.
“Let me just ask you,” Homan says. “If it was your family, your sister, your daughter, wouldn’t you want to take that chance?”
Wendy has been working with detectives since she moved back to Oregon about 20 years ago.
“It just didn’t seem to fit into anyone’s agenda,” she says. “That’s what I feel like.”
The sheriff’s office says it’s doing everything it can.
But for those who knew and loved Angela, each passing year is a painful reminder of what remains.
“It was like there was never a healing process,” her sister says.
While the sheriff’s office says it’s still a missing person case, Oregon law does state that, “A person not heard from in seven years is (considered) dead.”
Anyone with information that could help solve Chan’s disappearance is asked to please contact the sheriff’s office at 541-693-6911.