ANCHORAGE — A missing persons case with a Wasilla connection is now being investigated as a homicide, the missing woman’s mother said.
Jael Hamblen, 20, at the time of her disappearance in October 2014, left behind a now 1-year-old son named Joel and lingering questions.
Layn Bosman, Hamblen’s longtime friend, and adoptive mother Colleen Vague, who is currently caring for Joel. Hamblen’s car was left in the driveway of the house she lived in, and Joel was with friends for the evening. Hamblen had appeared upbeat at a family dinner that night, her family said.
Hamblen attended Teeland Middle School and the Valley Career and Technical High School.
New evidence has emerged, Vague said, which has led the case to be shifted from the missing persons department within the Anchorage Police Department to homicide detectives. Police are being judicious about which information to make public, Vague added.
“I found out about a week ago,” she said. “There’s been some additional things found that indicate that it’s now a homicide.”
“It’s been a pretty rough week,” Vague added.
Vague has brought Joel in to provide a DNA sample for the Anchorage Police, in part because Hamblen was her adopted daughter. Joel was asleep on her lap when a reporter called, Vague said.
“He’s as cute as ever,” she said.
The tenor of the absence has changed from hope for reunion to a search for justice, Vague said.
“Now that it’s an ongoing homicide investigation … I really want whoever did this to be found, so I’m not willing to do anything to prevent that from happening,” she said.
While both Vague and Bosman say Hamblen’s purse had been found. Bosman’s account was more detailed.
“Hikers found her purse along a trail in Chugiak with documentation inside which identified her,” she said. “They recognized her name and turned it into the police.”
Bosman held out hope.
“I am very hopeful that Jael will be found,” she said. “I am hoping this new evidence leads to something that the police can work with. She will be found.”
Anchorage Police officials were not available for immediate comment given the Seward’s Day holiday Monday.
Contact Brian O’Connor at 352-2269, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @reporterbriano.