UPDATE: 1980s Missing Person Case Becomes Homicide Investigation

| June 13, 2012 | 0 Comments | News

This is a school picture of Cynthia Gastelle from 1980.

Prince William Police held a conference Wednesday to discuss the investigation into the homicide of Cynthia Gastelle, an 18 year-old Takoma Park, MD woman, who went missing 32 years ago.

Police are asking for information from anyone who knew Gastelle, or who saw her the last day she was seen by her parents, April 3, 1980. Gastelle is described as a 5.0′ woman of slender build with light auburn hair and hazel eyes.

On April 3, 1980 she was interviewing for a job at a delicatessen near Silver Spring, but was not heard from again. Her family always held out hope of finding her alive, until they received notice last month that her remains had been positively identified in the Bull Run Mountains area of Haymarket.

Police are especially interested in talking to Gastelle’s sometime boyfriend, although he has not been named as a suspect in the homicide. His name they believe to be Mike or Michael.

“Michael” was Gastelle’s age, making him approximately 50 years old today. As a young man in 1980 he had long brown hair, light skin, and wore a goatee and sideburns.

Gastelle’s brother, Pete Gastelle, believes they ended their relationship shortly before her disappearance.

Detective Brian Coaty of the Homicide Unit said they were able to identify Gastelle’s remains only after receiving a DNA sample collected from Gastelle’s family as part of an investigation into another missing person’s case in 2011.

Prince William Police were notified in May of 2012 that the Gastelle family DNA matched remains discovered in the Bull Run Mountain area in 1982. At that point the Prince William Police decided to reclassify the case as a homicide based on the evidence they had acquired.

Photo of the former boyfriend believed to be "Michael" from 1980.

Prince William County Police are working closely with Takoma Park Police in this case.

The police do not know of Gastelle having any ties with Prince William County, and Gastelle’s body was found in what was then a desolate woody region in Haymarket. Today that area is a developed neighborhood.

The family said they were saddened to have to give up hope that Cynthia was alive, but were also relieved to have closure.

“Our grief is seconded by finding out how many thousands of missing persons there are in our region,” said Pete Gastelle. “No other family should go through what our family has had to go through. Please be kind to each other and look out for each other. That’s what Cindy would want.”

Cynthia’s mother died in 1993 and her father died in 2001. According to Pete Gastelle, neither ever gave up hope that their daughter would be found.

Pete Gastelle described his sister as a lively young woman.

Anyone with information relating to this case is asked to call Crime Solvers at 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS. You don’t have to give your name, just the information. You could earn up to a $1,000 cash reward.


© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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