WOODLAND (CBS13) — Years after she went missing, the remains of a Woodland woman have finally been identified. Dolores Wulff’s family is feeling mixed emotions as they relive her disappearance, but feel they may finally be able to find peace.
Since 1979, photos have been all that’s left for Dolores Wulff’s family to remember her by.
“We’d gone to bed about 15,000 times between the time she disappeared and now,” said Tom Wulff, one of her sons.
For her family, the decades-long question of where she went after disappearing from her Woodland home is finally known.
“It’s awful nice because just recently I was convinced I was going to go to my grave without knowing one or the other,” Tom Wulff said.
Initially, her torso was discovered miles away in Benicia the same year she disappeared. But those remains were left unnamed until Benicia Sgt. Kenny Hart took up the case earlier this year.
“Whatever I needed to do to find the story of the remains and put a name to Jane Doe 16,” Sgt. Hart said. “I was going to do.”
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Eventually, family DNA shined the light on the connection of the Benicia torso to Dolores. When she originally went missing, all eyes were on the man she married as the prime suspect. Though his charges were dropped due to lack of evidence and he died in 2005. But for Dolores’ kids, there’s no wondering what happened.
“I was told by our father that she was gone and never coming back,” Tom said. “From that day on, I knew what happened.”
Her kids say she said did nothing but provide joy to her family. “Her kids were her life,” Tom said.
Her son, Paul Wulff, is finally feeling that sense of closure, too. When at the young age of 12, he only hoped one day mom would come home.
“I still didn’t believe it and I was still in a position where I was always hoping the next person coming through the door would be her,” he said.
In a way, they feel maybe she’s still coming home; now that she’s able to be laid to rest next to family.
The Yolo County Sheriff, Tom Lopez, also issued a statement regarding the findings:
“This case has haunted my office and, in fact, all of Yolo County since 1979. Countless hours were spent investigating Dolores Wulff’s disappearance. It is my hope that this provides some closure to the family who has suffered so much. I am grateful for the dedication and professionalism of our law enforcement community who made this identification possible, including the members of the Benicia Police Department for their incredible efforts.”