Arlene Seuell and Donna Vasquez see the memorial service of their beloved sister as an opportunity give hope and encouragement to families that have missing loved ones.
Seuell and Vasquez have not heard from their sister, Celia Victor, for more than 30 years. However, in December 2014, they saw a TV advert of a Facebook posting seeking the identity of a homicide victim in Seattle. The victim, whose skeletal remains were found in Seattle in October 1989, was referred to as “Rita Lang.” Seuell and Vasquez contacted the FBI and sent their DNA samples to confirm the victim’s identity. In February, nearly a year after, they received a confirmation that the victim, Rita Lang, was their sister.
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Seuell revealed that she and her sisters were separated as children by their mother and sent to live with different people. Victor, who grew up in Sacramento, dropped out of school at 15. She was arrested on several occasions by the law enforcement agents and was issued an FBI number in 1977 after an arrest by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The FBI number, which is used to track an individual’s fingerprints, was used to confirm her identity and reunite her with her family after her death.
In December 2014, the FBI’s Sacramento field office issued a news release about the murder at Seattle and local TV stations showed the victim’s photo. The FBI number was given to a woman identified as Brenda N. O’Neil with April 27, 1958, as her date of birth. The woman gave 2953 San Jose Way in Sacramento as her address while her booking document listed an alias Brenda Victor.
The authorities in Seattle believed that the skeletal remains of a woman found behind a freight ship on October 3, 1989, were those of a woman named Rita Lang. This woman had failed to appear in court a year earlier and has supposedly disappeared. Lang has been arrested severally in Seattle on charges of drug and prostitution between 1983 and 1985. The authorities disclosed that she had always appeared in court as directed.
On her booking documents, Lang listed two people as her friends or contacts. However, one of the contacts was deceased while the King County Sheriff’s Office could not locate the second contact. Also, it was discovered that “Rita Lang” was an alias. The FBI number issued to Lang was linked to a number of arrests in which she used different names, dates, and places of births. However, authorities believed that her real identity will be discovered in Sacramento.
Vasquez credited the social media for unraveling the mystery of her sister’s identity. She disclosed that Victor did call them occasionally, but they lost contact with her after they moved into a new apartment with a different phone number.
Seuell hopes that people will learn from the story of their missing sister.
“I’m really using this story to help people in the community understand that you need to keep in touch with family no matter what is going on,” Seuell said. “You just never know what will happen.”
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