Boyne Falls – A northern Michigan sheriff who wants to solve the case of a missing woman has a personal connection: They worked together at a restaurant when Victoria Salisz disappeared in 1988.

“She was a kind, sweet lady – the prototypical grandma,” said Charlevoix County Sheriff Chuck Vondra, who was a teenager clearing tables at Pippin’s in Boyne City while Salisz, 69, was a waitress.

Thirty-one years later, Salisz’ disappearance still hasn’t been solved, but Vondra said investigators haven’t given up. A dig in the area is planned for later this month, and state police helped out last week by using a drone to take photos of her former property in Boyne Falls.

Vondra doesn’t want to disclose every detail. But he told The Associated Press that people who were in prison with a potential suspect have been interviewed. DNA also has been collected from family members.

“I pulled the case off the shelf a year ago,” said Vondra, who was the undersheriff before being elected sheriff in 2016. “You want to give closure to anyone who needs it. This area is small. Everyone knew her. Everyone is still interested in the case.”

In 2014, WPBN-TV reported that Salisz’ car was in her driveway when she vanished, and her purse and keys were inside the house. Vondra’s predecessor, Don Schneider, recalled how investigators excavated part of a cemetery after someone said her body might have been stashed in a burial vault. They found nothing.

“The case has advanced,” Vondra said Tuesday. “There’s nothing you can do in this case that’s not helpful. Whether it opens a door or closes a door, it’s helpful.”

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