25 years since Wendy Hudakoc’s disappearance

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

It has been 25 years since the disappearance of Wendy Hudakoc. In 1998, she snuck out to go to a party. It was the last time she was seen.

Like most 14-year-olds, Hudakoc was full of life, curious and occasionally a little mischievous.

She was funny, according to her older sister, Sharlene Boyatt. She also described her as outgoing and stubborn.

“She was incredibly smart– booksmart. Street smarts weren’t the best,” Boyatt said.

Hudakoc snuck out to a party on Nov. 15, 1998. Sharlene didn’t want to go along. A man picked her up and said he dropped her off. Her family never saw her again.

“I can only imagine what life would be like if she were still here,” Boyatt said.

Boyatt sees herself and her sister in her daughters. Her youngest is 14, the same age as Hudakoc when she disappeared.

“Today’s teenagers [are] different than 25 years ago,” said Richard Nieves, Collier County Sheriff’s Office sergeant special victims unit.

Nieves said investigations are different today. They’d check street cameras and social media and track cell phones.

Regardless of the decade, his advice to parents is the same: know your kid’s friends.

​”Just don’t know their first name. Know who they are, where they live and what they drive. We have a lot of cases where children are reported missing or runaway, and parents don’t know who they associate with, who they have been speaking to,” Nieves said.

No one has been arrested, and Nieves said there is no smoking gun. Boyatt just wants to put this to rest.

“Give it up already. It’s been 25 years,” Boyatt said, addressing anyone associated with her sister’s disappearance. “Mail me an anonymous letter with no fingerprints. I don’t care. I would really just like to put this to an end. At this point, I want to know where my little sister is. I want to put her actual remains to rest.”

Hudakoc would have been 39 today.

Boyatt and Dan Campbell, Hudakoc’s stepfather, will never know the life she would have built, but they hope to learn what happened someday.

Contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8744 if you have any information. You can also submit tips online or on the P3 Tips mobile app. Remember, you can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.

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