When Amber Wilde went missing on September 24, 1998, she was a normal UW Green Bay student, working hard toward her degree.
“Between the work-study, her classes, and the student government, she was doing really well,” Laurie Ehnert, Amber’s aunt told Local 5.
It was a Wednesday when she was involved in a minor fender bender, which resulted in what might have been a minor concussion.
Amber had asked her father to call the next morning to make sure she woke up okay.
“Her dad, my brother, called her the next morning and didn’t get a hold of her,” Ehnert said. “He kept trying, didn’t get a hold of her, he had to go to work so he had my mom start calling.”
Amber never answered.
Finally, her family called the school to see if she had made it to class. She hadn’t.
According to Ehnert, the disappearing act was unusual for Amber.
“She was family oriented and would always, she was always letting somebody, mostly my brother, letting him know what was going on and what she was doing,” she said. “He talked to her probably once a day if not twice a day.”
Another concern: it wasn’t just Amber missing. She was about four and a half months pregnant.
Ehnert told Local 5 that Amber had a plan and was ready to become a mother at 19.
“She was going to keep going to school, get back to school as soon as she could after the baby was born,” Ehnert said, “and continue with her education to become a pediatrician. She was determined and she was going to do it.”
That determined 19-year-old was missing without a trace, but her car would soon re-emerge, found in a parking lot near Lambeau Field.
The vehicle contained a couple of clues, including the odometer reading, which was up several hundred miles from where it had been just a couple of days ago when Amber serviced the car, as well as and the position of the seat.
“She was just over five feet tall and she always had the seat real close to the steering wheel,” Ehnert said. “So they did check the seat, and the seat was all the back when they found the car.”
The findings seemingly confirmed Ehnert and the rest of the families worst fears: that someone had hurt Amber.
“She wouldn’t have gone away and not told anybody,” Ehnert said. “She just wouldn’t have done it. I think in the back of my mind, I always knew there was something that happened, something bad had happened to her.”
Despite their fears, the family works to find Amber, distributing flyers around town and at Packers games.
Police also actively worked to find Amber, with several of their searches narrowing in on fields surrounding Highway 29, a roadway that was under construction at the time.
“I actually went to every one of those,” Ehnert said of the searches along Highway 29. “I was there, I was parked kind of in the background or whatever and just sat there if it took two or three days or whatever. I just sat there and watched them and waited.”
More than 20 years later, that wait continues.
“I never would have thought it would’ve been this long,” Ehnert said.
The man believed to be the father of Amber’s baby was named a person of interest in 2016, but no arrests have ever been made in the case.
Despite the time that has passed, Amber’s family still holds out hope that truth will eventually come to light.
“We still want to find her,” Ehnert said. “We still want to put her to rest if that’s what it is. I still think something will happen and we will find out.”
While Amber’s family holds on to photographs and memories of the missing woman, it’s the memories she never got the chance to make that they will never let go of.
“She had goals, dreams, she had a future to look forward to,” Ehnert said. “She was a beautiful person, now she’s gone.”