A year later, missing woman’s family hopes for answers

It’s been a year since Roseanne Glick has spoken to her only daughter. They used to talk daily until 25-year-old Jenna Van Gelderen vanished without a trace.

She was reported missing from her parents’ Druid Hills home on Aug. 19, 2017, and DeKalb investigators say nobody has seen or heard from her since. The family is holding out hope that Jenna is alive and, a year after her disappearance, they’re trying to push the case back into the spotlight.

The family urges anyone with any information about Jenna’s disappearance to call Crimestoppers at 404-577-TIPS; there is a $25,000 reward for anyone who offers information that leads investigators to Jenna. The family is offering an additional $25,000 for her safe return. They’re holding a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday at Congregation Shearith Israel, 1180 University Drive NE in Atlanta, to commemorate the day Jenna went missing.

“Every day, I’m sad,” Glick said. “Every day, I’m anxious, thinking, ‘What can I do? How can we move this forward?’”

She and Jenna’s dad, Leon Van Gelderan, discussed the case during a Friday news conference. Jenna was house-sitting for them and taking care of their 21-year-old cat while they were in Canada last summer. They called several times a day during their trip.

Jenna’s brother, Will Van Gelderen, was supposed to meet her the night she disappeared. He was running behind and called Jenna to let her know he would be late. But Jenna, who was usually responsive, didn’t answer her phone. When he arrived at their parents’ home, she was gone, along with her car, phone and the suitcase she had packed.

Each day that she’s missing, the family’s list of questions grows longer.

“In the past year, many things have gone on, but I feel that we’re living the same thing over and over with Jenna,” Glick said.

Jenna’s phone pinged in Fairburn the morning after she went missing, and two weeks later her car—a dark blue Mazda 6—was found parked along a road in northwest Atlanta. Then, the trail went cold.

Police have said that they don’t suspect foul play and don’t have any suspects. Investigators said that the door was locked the night of Jenna’s disappearance, as if she left and locked the door behind her.

“The initial reaction we got was, ‘Oh, she must have left voluntarily,’” Leon Van Gelderen said.

But her family said Jenna wouldn’t have just disappeared. Her makeup bag and other items she wouldn’t have left without were still in the house. The cat, Jessie, hadn’t been fed.

“She was very attached to that cat,” Glick said.

Jenna was on the autism spectrum, Glick said, and sometimes wasn’t aware of danger.

“She did have social issues,” she said. “She did not know that people were taking advantage of that.”

Something happened to her, she is sure. And somebody knows where she is, Glick believes.

Capt. Anthony Ford, the commander of the DeKalb Homicide Unit, took over the case about 10 months ago.

“We have no evidence to lead us to believe it is anything other than a missing person,” Ford said. Police said there has been no activity on Jenna’s bank account, phone or social media accounts.

But Glick isn’t giving up.

“My belief is—my hope is—that she is (alive),” she said. “I worry. I don’t know what to think. It’s a terrible feeling to not know the answer.”

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