Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in the Centre Daily Times on February 27, 2003.
SPRING TOWNSHIP — It’s been 12 years since Shauna Condon kissed her mother goodbye.
A few days before Brenda Condon, a 28-year-old mother of two, disappeared at the bar at which she’d worked for only a few days, she woke up her daughter and son, Todd, to tell them she loved them.
“We lived at my dad’s during the week and she stopped by, but we were sleeping, “ Shauna Condon said. “But she woke us up anyway to give us a hug and kiss and tell us she loved us and she’d see us later. Of course, she never did.”
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What happened to Brenda Condon in the early hours of Feb. 27, 1991 —12 years ago today — no one knows.
As they always do around the anniversary of her disappearance, the state police at Rockview — who in 1997 took over the case from Spring Township police, the original investigators — publicly called for anyone with information about Condon’s disappearance to come forward.
Just five days shy of her 29th birthday, Condon was the only one working at Carl’s Bad Tavern, along state Route 550 in Spring Township on the night of Feb. 26, 1991, a slow Tuesday in the middle of winter.
Police believe she disappeared in the early morning hours the following day. Her cowboy boots were found in the men’s bathroom, according to police, and there was no sign of a struggle.
To date, her whereabouts are still unknown.
“We’ll keep working on it forever, “ said Trooper Joseph G. Cigich, who took over investigation of the case about three years ago. “Missing persons cases typically last a lifetime. We go until what would be a reasonable estimate of her life span and of all those interviewed.”
Cigich said he has received a few calls over the years; he continually checks and rechecks the facts of statements given years ago, looking for inaccuracies.
He also continues to pursue leads with a few individuals close to or known to Brenda Condon at the time of her disappearance who have been, as he said, “less than cooperative.”
That could mean anything from failing to state their whereabouts on that night to not providing documentation or not taking a polygraph test, he said.
Shauna Condon’s first child, now 3, is named Brenda. She and her husband expect their second child in a few weeks.
Shauna Condon still holds out hope her mother is alive, but that may be all it is.
“I believe until there is some kind of proof of something, “ she said. “I think now, it’s just hope that she can come and see her grandkids, be a part of our lives.”
Shauna Condon said she has pictures of her mother around her home and little Brenda sometimes asks “Where’s Grandma Brenda?”
“I tell her we don’t know, “ Shauna Condon said. “My father-in-law died last year, so she asks if she’s in heaven with her Pappy. I tell her ‘possibly.’ “
Iris Myers, Brenda Condon’s older sister, has become a kind of surrogate grandmother to little Brenda — just as she was a surrogate mother to her little sister when their own mother died.
However, Myers said she has never held out hope her sister was alive.
“I think she was gone from the very first, “ Myers said.
Myers’ ears still perk at news reports about unidentified female bodies. She waits to hear if the next one will be identified as her sister.
Even though police posed the theory to Myers that her sister may have disappeared of her own accord, she doesn’t believe it.
“She would never, ever have taken off and left those kids with her ex-husband, never to see them again, “ Myers said. “She’d never done anything like that, never run away.”
There wasn’t much to run away from, Myers said. In addition to being involved in her children’s lives, Brenda Condon ran two arms of a cleaning-service franchise, one in Williamsport and one in State College. Only a few months before she disappeared, she moved from Williamsport to State College to be closer to the homes she cleaned and to be closer to her children.
“She was supposed to get the kids that weekend, to celebrate her birthday, “ Myers said. “At the time, my aunt and uncle ran a limo service, and she was going to take the kids in a limo out to dinner. They were so excited.”
Lara Brenckle can be reached at 235-3902.