Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 21, 2012

Family still looking for answers in disappearance

Esther Westenbarger has been missing for three years this month

By Mike Fletcher
Tribune staff writer

— Three years ago, 51-year-old Esther Westenbarger moved to Kokomo from Fostoria, Ohio, to be closer to her family.

But her stay was brief. She had been in Kokomo only about a month before she went missing after leaving Miller’s Tavern, 129 W. Elm St., at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2009.

Described as being 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 135 pounds, with shoulder-length, red hair and brown eyes, she was last seen on foot, wearing a cream-colored, three-quarter length V-neck shirt, blue jeans, flip-flops and a dark-colored jacket.

Living in Riley Modern Mobile Home Park on North Washington Street, her disappearance was investigated by the Howard County Sheriff Department.

Greg Hargrove, head of investigations, said her disappearance remains an open case but no new leads have surfaced as to her whereabouts. The Kokomo Police Department is also assisting with the investigation.

Despite the lack of clues, Dustin Westenbarger, Esther’s son, who now lives in Fostoria, is not giving up hope.

Back in 2009, Dustin traveled to Kokomo to try to find out what happened to his mother. He said he located several people who knew his mother, but was not able to shed any light on her disappearance.

Esther may have been walking from Miller’s to the Hoosier Bar, where her car, a 2005 Cadillac CTS, bearing the Ohio personalized registration plate MSESTER, was last seen, Dustin said.

The car has never been recovered.

Dustin returned to Kokomo last week hoping to rejuvenate the investigation and jog someone’s memory of what happened that day.

“It’s frustrating,” he said during his recent visit.

“I will always have hope,” he said. “I believe someday the truth will come out. I’m never going to give up hope. Somebody knows something. I’m just starting my search.”


You can help:

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Esther Westenbarger is asked to contact Detective Scott Waymire at the Howard County Sheriff Department at