MISSING IN AMERICA: Danielle Bertolini and Sheila Franks

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Danielle Bertolini and Sheila Franks both went missing within days of each other, both from the same area near Fortuna, California, and officials believe both were last seen with the same man.

“There are so many stories about what happened, but all I know is that both Danielle and Sheila suffered and we don’t have answers,” Billie-Jo Dick, Danielle’s mother, told Dateline. “We are just torn right apart.”

Danielle was last seen on February 9th, 2014 outside Fortuna in the rural Swains Flat area near Highway 36. The then 23-year-old was reportedly supposed to get a ride into town, but she never arrived. The man who officials say picked Bertolini up was also the last person seen with Sheila Franks, who vanished on February 2nd, 2014. Franks was 38 years old when she vanished. Sheila left behind a young son.

“Friday marks Danielle’s 25th birthday, but that was stolen from her and our family. Someone stole my baby’s future, the cruelty is unbearable,” Dick said.

Fortuna Police Department Chief William Dobberstein told Dateline investigators believe the two women’s cases are connected and there is a person of interest in the cases.

“Both cases are on-going investigations. We’re working with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department closely and following all our leads, but yes, we have identified a person of interest in both cases and it’s the same man. We aren’t releasing his name at this time,” Chief Dobebrstein said.

Danielle’s mother said she is doing everything in her power to find answers for her daughter, and that answers for Danielle will also mean answers for Sheila.

“We’ve done everything we can possibly do. I can’t go another year without getting my baby girl the closure and justice she deserves.”

Family members of both women are very active on social media, working together on the Facebook page ‘Help Find Sheila Franks and Danielle Bertolini’ as well as organizing search efforts. Danielle’s mother recently flew from her home in Maine to California with a cadaver dog to search, but so far, no answers as to what exactly happened to either women have surfaced.

“She can’t be forgotten, they both cannot be forgotten. Someone knows something and they have to come forward. They have to.”

If you have any information that can help in Danielle Bertolini’s case, please contact the Fortuna Police Department at (707) 725-7550. Anyone with information that can help in Sheila Frank’s case is asked to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 445-7251.