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Family of Homer woman who disappeared a year ago still waiting for answers

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:12 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - This weekend marks one year since a Homer woman disappeared, leaving the small coastal community gripped by uneasiness and lingering questions.

Anesha Murnane, 38, was last seen leaving her home on Oct. 17, 2019, heading to what her family believes was a 1 p.m. doctor’s appointment.

But Murnane, known by her family as “Duffy,” never arrived.

A K9 search led investigators to believe she might have gotten into a vehicle less than a mile from her home.

A year later, Sara Berg, Murnane’s mother, called herself a realist. She believes her daughter is dead and she wants answers.

“We’re realists, and are thankfully very sure she is peacefully dead,” said Berg. “We cannot and do not want to imagine what horror she would be enduring if not. No parent could bear it. We need the body back with us to complete cycle, so we can fully grieve for her. I want to run my fingers through her ashes. I want to be sure.”

Berg has said Murnane had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but was doing well. She had just applied for five jobs and had purchased airline tickets for an upcoming trip. She stuck to routines. She had never gone missing before.

Since her disappearance, she hasn’t followed up on any of those job applications. She didn’t make her flight. Her phone hasn’t been turned on and her credit card has not been used.

“We’re pretty sure that she was taken by somebody, held against her will, and then murdered,” said Berg.

Christina Whiting, who has helped to organize walks and vigils since Murnane’s disappearance, said it’s important to spread awareness about the unsolved case.

“We haven’t forgotten her. We’re still looking for her and, you know, we love her,” said Whiting. “She’s one of us. We want her home.”

She said at first, it was easier to believe Murnane might have wanted to get away for a bit and that she’d come back.

“You know, I know that women go missing. You know, I read the statistics. I hear stories. But they don’t go missing in Homer, Alaska, in downtown Homer, Alaska in the middle of the day,” said Whiting.

Now she wonders if there is a murderer living among them.

“Those of us close to this believe she was abducted,” said Whiting. “Is that person in our community? Are they in line behind me or in front of me at the coffee shop? Do they drive past me? Do I walk past them? Do I know them?”

Saturday, on the one year anniversary of her disappearance, Murnane’s mother and stepdad will walk the route the believe she took from her apartment together.

Then, on Sunday, community members will do the same.

Whiting has organized a memorial walk and vigil for Murnane, starting at noon on Sunday at WKFL Park in Homer.

Anyone with information about Murnane’s disappearance is asked to contact Homer Police Department at (907) 235-3150.

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