Photo submitted Kellisue Ackernecht was last seen on Sept. 30, 2008. Family and friends have spread her photo around for the past four years hoping someone would come forward with information on her whereabouts. A vigil will take place in Amsterdam and Johntown Sunday marking the anniversary of her disappearance.
BY REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
Sunday will mark the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of Johnstown mother Kellisue Ackernecht.
Friends and family continue to search and question.
Ackernecht, a mother of a now 14-year-old daughter, was 35-years-old when she was last seen on Sept. 30, 2008.
A shift supervisor at the Rite Aid pharmacy in Amsterdam, Ackernecht left work at 9:40 p.m. that day to likely head to her home on Main Street in Johnstown.
But she never made it home, and her car was found engulfed in flames in an area known as Frog Hollow in Johnstown about four hours later.
Her body was never found.
Now, four years later, family and friends of the woman continue to hope that she will come back home.
One of those is her brother Tom Kilcullen.
"Basically, we're all looking for answers as to what went on with Kellisue," he said. "We're trying to keep her out there in the media so that everyone realizes we're still looking for her or at least some closure as to what happened."
The past four years have been rough, he said.
"I can't get an answer from anybody," he said. "There's been no leads, no new news, no nothing."
Kilcullen believes there are people out there who know something, but they may be too afraid to come forward.
Canajoharie resident Deb Walsh said she never knew Kellisue, but she feels like she does now.
"When Kellisue went missing, it was in the paper a week later and they talked about it online," she said. "No one was doing anything. It was kept hush hush. It was crazy. We said why don't we do something."
The "we" she refers to is herself and another community member, Fort Plain resident Kalley Lee who also was moved to action by the reports of the disappearance.
Each year, the two, along with Kilcullen, have helped organize anniversary vigils and efforts to keep the disappearance in public light.
"Kalley and I are both spokespersons for the family," Walsh said. "We do what we can when we can."
That has included printing and putting up posters consistently and keeping an updated website dedicated to the disappearance, and soon they will start a nonprofit to raise money to put toward the search effort.
Anonymous donors have already donated $1,000 to give to the person that comes forward with information on Kellisue's whereabouts.
At this point, Walsh said, it's frustrating to have so many questions and no answers.
"Even though I didn't know her, I've come to know a lot about her now," she said. "Her little girl needs her more than ever now."
Kilcullen said though he is not right now allowed to see his niece, he knows she needs her mother.
"The main thing I'd like to have is some type of answer for my niece to know what happened to her mother because there's no way in heck that my sister would have left that little girl behind," he said.
"(She) was my sister's pride and joy right there. They were inseparable."
A vigil will be held on Sunday to remember Kellisue's last known journey and her disappearance that remains in question.
All who wish to attend will meet at Rite Aid on Market Street in Amsterdam at 9:30 p.m.
"Everyone is going to then leave Rite Aid in Amsterdam and take their route of choice to Frog Hollow and that's where Kelli's car was found," Walsh explained.
When most people arrive, they will do a candlelight vigil and say a prayer.