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Cold Case Spotlight

California teenager Diane Genice Dye still missing 39 years later

In 1979, 13-year-old Diane Genice Dye lived with her mother Patricia and brother Dean in their house in San Jose, California. Her parents were going through a divorce, which made her deeply upset, according to her friend Natja Kristy.

“Her father lived at another location from her, and she didn't get to see him often,” Natja said. “She was also upset because her mother worked long hours at a winery and she was not home very much.”

Diane Dye

Other than the divorce, Diane was a happy and excited girl who loved sports. “She was always playful, joyful, just filled with life,” Natja said. “She made me happy whenever I was around her.”

Diane and Natja became friends when he was around 12 years old, through Diane’s brother Dean. Because Natja had his own issues at home, he was “practically living,” with the Dyes.

“Diane became like a sister to me,” Natja said. “I adored her.”

Natja said that during this difficult time, Diane became “quite rebellious,” and suggested the divorce took a toll on Diane’s lively spirit.

“She began smoking cigs and marijuana,” Natja explained. “At first she enjoyed the freedom we had to just listen to music and party, skip school. Then she became quite withdrawn.”

On the evening of July 30, 1979, Natja said he found Diane on her doorstep.

“I was the only one home, until I heard her crying outside,” Natja told Dateline. “When I went to console her, she told me of her plans to run away. I spent over an hour trying to talk her out of it, and thought I had convinced her,” he explained.

Diane asked Natja to leave her alone, so he left. That was the last time he saw Diane.

Three days later, Natja tried calling Diane to come over. He said no one picked up the phone at the house, so he went over to see if anyone was around. When he got there, he found the front door locked, which he said was unusual for the Dye family.

“I knocked and Patricia, Diane's mother, answered the door and she seemed upset. She asked me, ‘Do you know where Diane is?’ And I told her no,I had no idea,” Natja told Dateline.

According to Natja, Diane’s brother Dean had not seen Diane since that same day Natja had found her crying on her doorstep.

Dean Dye declined to be interviewed by Dateline due to health complications. Natja described Dean as having been “devastated” by his sister’s disappearance.

The San Jose Police Department confirms that Diane’s case is a missing person’s case and they are investigating. However, they are not approaching it as a homicide. They did not comment further on the case to Dateline.

Natja said he is in contact with Diane’s brother Dean, as well as Diane’s father Bill. Diane’s mother, Patricia, passed away several years ago. Natjasays he is leading the efforts to find Diane, and runs a Facebook group to continue his mission.

Diane will have been missing for 39 years on July 30, 2018.

There have been a few alleged sightings of Diane over the years across the country, from California to New Jersey. None has been confirmed as being Diane.

“I miss her every single day of my life,” Natja said. “[Her disappearance,] tore my soul apart. None of us ever got over it,” he told Dateline. He says if Diane is still out there, he hopes to at least hear from her, to know she’s is safe.

Diane Genice Dye would be 52 years old today. At the time of her disappearance, she was described as 5’2” with shoulder-length light brown hair and hazel eyes. If you know anything regarding Diane’s disappearance, please contact the San Jose Police Department at (408) 277-4141.