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Father determined to find out what happened to missing daughter Veronica Blumhorst

The 21-year-old last seen in September 1990, in Mendota, Illinois, leaving work. Her blue Chevrolet Corsica was found later that day in her family’s garage.

“I walked through the house calling for Veronica,” Paul Blumhorst said. “I checked all the rooms, the attic, the basement, and everything.”

It was September 1990.

Paul’s daughter, 21-year-old Veronica Blumhorst, was missing. “I couldn’t find her,” Paul said.

Paul and Betty Blumhorst adopted Veronica when she was just 7 months old. “We had one other adopted daughter,” Paul Blumhorst told Dateline. “Then we had a son of our own.” Veronica was the middle child.

Veronica Blumhorst young.
Veronica Blumhorst young.Wendy Becker

The couple raised their three children in the city of Mendota, Illinois. “It’s a small community of about 7,000,” Paul said. “Everybody got along real good.”

The community wasn’t the only thing that was close – so was the family. “Every summer we had to take a trip somewhere,” Paul said. “Wherever the kids wanted to go.”

Soon enough, Paul and Betty’s kids weren’t kids anymore. Paul told Dateline that by September 1990, their eldest daughter, Carolyn, was married and living on her own. Their son, Todd, was in high school.

And Veronica, who was 21 years old at the time, had a job. “She was living with us in Mendota,” Paul said. “She worked at a grocery store.”

Paul told Dateline that the grocery store Veronica worked at was just a few blocks from their house. He said that on September 19, 1990, Veronica was at work and didn’t finish her shift until 1:00 a.m.

It wasn’t until the next morning, Paul said, that he realized something was wrong.

Paul told Dateline Todd’s car was having some issues so Veronica was supposed to take him to school later that morning. “When he got up to go to school Veronica wasn’t there,” Paul said. “So he called me at work and said, ‘Veronica’s not home.’”

Paul said he told Todd to just drive his car to school and that he would “take a look at it later.”

Paul said he came home from his job at the fire department around 10:00 a.m. He said he began looking for Veronica and when he didn’t find her, called his wife Betty at work to see if Veronica had come home the night before.

Paul told Dateline that his wife told him she had gotten up at 2:00 a.m. that morning. The light was on outside and she could see Veronica’s car through the garage window. “She [had] seen the car was in the garage, but she says, ‘I don’t remember her coming in.’”

Todd, Veronica, Betty, and Paul Blumhorst.
Todd, Veronica, Betty, and Paul Blumhorst.Wendy Becker

After talking to his wife, Paul checked the family’s detached garage and saw Veronica’s Blue Chevrolet Corsica. “Her car was in the garage,” Paul said. “Everything seemed normal.”

Paul said he then called his daughter Carolyn to see if she had heard from Veronica, but the line was busy. “And about that time, Jeff showed up,” Paul remembered. Jeff Ververka was Veronica’s boyfriend at the time, according to Paul, and they had been dating a little over a year. “I said, ‘Did you two go out to breakfast or something this morning?’” Paul told Dateline. “He said, ‘No.’”

According to Paul, Jeff hadn’t heard from Veronica, either. Dateline attempted to contact Jeff to see if he had any additional insight into Veronica’s movements, but was unsuccessful.

Since Carolyn wasn’t answering the phone, Paul said he headed to her house. “She didn’t know where [Veronica] was at,” Paul said. He told Dateline that Carolyn told him Veronica had a doctor’s appointment that day. Carolyn said she was supposed to go with her, but hadn’t heard from her sister all day.

“When I got back home, the police department was there,” Paul said.

Paul said Veronica had been reported missing, though he is unsure of who actually placed the report.

Paul told Dateline everyone jumped in to assist with the search for his daughter. “The Mendota Fire Department, the police department – they had people coming in from out of town,” Paul said. “We searched everywhere that we could think of.”

But Veronica was nowhere to be found. “We didn’t find nothing,” Paul said.

Veronica Blumhorst.
Veronica Blumhorst.Wendy Becker

According to Paul, the searches for Veronica dwindled as the days went on. “It slowed down quite a bit,” Paul said. “It stopped, basically, after about two to three weeks.”

The Mendota County Police Department was initially investigating Veronica’s case, but told Dateline in an email that the FBI Chicago office is now leading the investigation.

According to a missing person’s alert posted on the FBI’s website, “Veronica Jill Blumhorst left her employment at 1:05 AM on September 21, 1990,” In an email, the FBI Chicago Public Affairs team told Dateline that a co-worker saw Veronica drive off that night. There is a discrepancy between the date the family told Dateline Veronica disappeared and the date posted on the FBI website.

The alert goes on to say that Veronica “drove home four blocks away, and parked her car in the detached garage. She locked the driver’s door, closed the overhead garage door, turned off the garage light, and exited the detached garage.” It adds that she “never entered her home and has not been seen or heard from since.”

According to the FBI, “none of her personal property she was carrying (purse, keys, red smock, and video) or clothing (light green short-sleeve sweater with a white tank top wore underneath, corduroy cream pants, brown shoes, purple satin jacket, a class ring with a blue sapphire stone, and a black watch) have been recovered.”

“We have had contact with the FBI,” Paul Blumhorst said. He told Dateline that his wife, Betty, had last been in contact with someone from the FBI office in September of 2022. “They were still investigating it.”

No suspects or persons of interest have been named in Veronica’s case.

Paul told Dateline he has always believed something bad happened to his daughter. “[If] she was going somewhere, she would let us know,” Paul said. “She would never be gone.”

Now, 32 years later, Paul and Betty Blumhorst still don’t have answers about where their daughter went. “We feel that she is deceased,” Paul said. “We feel that the only way it’s going to be solved is on a deathbed -- somebody’s dying and they admit doing it.”

The Blumhorsts are hoping that someone will come forward with information about their daughter’s disappearance and try to help – just as Veronica would have done. “She always had a smile on her face,” Paul said. “She always tried helping everybody.”

Veronica and Todd Blumhorst.
Veronica and Todd Blumhorst.

About a year ago, friends of the Blumhorsts decided to make a memorial for their daughter. “They had [a bench] made with Veronica’s name on it and information about Veronica,” Paul said. The family also has a bench for their son, Todd, who died of cancer 13 years ago.

At the time of her disappearance, Veronica was 5’1” and weighed 100 lbs. She had short blonde hair at the time. According to the FBI website, Veronica has a “surgical scar on her knee, a scar on her chest and on an elbow.” Both of her ears are pierced and she wore braces at the time of her disappearance.

Veronica would be 53 years old today.

Anyone with information about Veronica’s case is asked to contact the FBI Chicago Field Office at 1-800-CALL-FBI.