“It’s like she vanished into thin air.”
That’s the description used by Detective Pat McMahon of the Napa County Cold Case Investigative Unit to describe the 1994 disappearance of Elisha Eittreim.
The 27-year-old Napa woman was last seen around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, 1994 when she left her boyfriend’s house in the 600 block of Brown Street in Napa.
According to her boyfriend, Eittreim was en route to her home on Patchett Street, close to downtown Napa.
“He said she was going to make stops at a downtown bank ATM and on Third Street on her way home,” McMahon said.
Eittrem never made either stop: McMahon said no one at the liquor store saw her that night, and no ATM withdrawals were made from her bank account.
“It was like in a matter of 15 minutes she was gone and never heard from or seen again,” he said.
Nor were any of Eittreim’s personal effects ever found.
“We don’t have any evidence or any crime scene,” McMahon said.
While Eittreim’s family said she suffered from depression, “she did not appear to be suicidal. We have not ruled out suicide, but it is unusual to have a suicide and not find a body,” he said.
McMahon described Eittreim as popular. “We found no evidence of anyone threatening her. She had friends and frequented several of the local bars,” he said, including The Brass Rail and the Lamplighter.
McMahon said Eittreim has never contacted any of her family or friends. “And they were a close family.”
There are no records that she ever used her bank account, her name or her Social Security number or cashed her last paycheck, he added.
Although Eittreim is listed as a missing person, investigators believe there is reason to believe she may be a victim of foul play.
“We consider this to be a suspected homicide. There is no other explanation for her disappearance. It happened very quick. She leaves her boyfriend’s house. Within 15 minutes, he goes to find her, and it’s like she just vanished.”
People who choose to disappear usually have a reason, McMahon said.
“This is not the case here. She wasn’t living in an abusive relationship. She didn’t have financial hardships."
Since Eittreim’s disappearance almost 20 years ago, detectives have followed many leads, including traveling to Chicago after getting information from a truck driver who said he remembered giving her a ride, and other sightings in Arizona and Los Angeles and Modesto.
“We are hoping someone who also went to the same Napa bars as Eittreim frequented may remember something and come forward,” McMahon said.
The Napa County Cold Case Investigative Unit is working on 42 unsolved homicides from 1963 to 2007. The investigations are funded by a $500,000 grant which will end June 30.
Anyone with information is asked to call the cold case unit at (707) 299-1521 or Napa Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-459-9543.