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Mother of missing woman praises law enforcement for man's arrest

Elizabeth Syperda, 22, poses with her cat (date unknown)/Family Photo

The mother of a woman reported missing from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, nearly two decades ago received some closure Thursday night.

State and local authorities announced Friday morning, that they have made an arrest in connection to the disappearance of Elizabeth Syperda, 22, who was reported missing in July of 2000.

Syperda’s estranged husband, 52-year-old Michael Lee Syperda was arrested in Rifle, Colorado, Thursday night and charged with her murder.

“This is the best news we’ve had in 17 years it’s been a long time waiting for it and we’re very happy that he’s in custody,” said Donna Forshee, Syperda’s mother.

Forshee, who lives in Roseville, California, told KTVO over the phone Friday morning that her daughter left her apartment in Mount Pleasant one night and never came back.

“From there, we don’t know what happened,” Forshee said. “But we do know that none of us have seen her or spoken to her again since then.”

Prior to her disappearance, Forshee said Syperda moved from her home state of California to Iowa with Michael Syperda and his family, where she worked as their babysitter. Forshee believes Michael Syperda was upset with Syperda’s plans to move back to California.

“There’s been several circumstances of domestic violence on his part,” Forshee said.

Forshee got the news of Michael Syperda’s arrest around 9:30 Thursday night. She praised officers with the Mount Pleasant Police Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for bringing Michael Syperda to trial.

“When (Mount Pleasant Police) Lt. Lyle Murray took over the case, I think he’s worked diligently for the last five years to get us to where we are,” Forshee said. “He and I have been in communication all the time during this whole entire period.”

The accumulated evidence and testimonies were presented before a Grand Jury last month. The Grand Jury returned a True-Bill Indictment on Wednesday.

Iowa DCI Acting Special Agent Ryan Kedley wouldn’t say what prompted the recent movement on this case.

“The details of what was presented to the Grand Jury are sealed,” Kedley said.

He said the search for Syperda continues.

“Just because there’s a charge now, does not mean that the investigation stops,” Kedley said. “There’s always the chance down the road that a body is located and we’re hopeful of that.”

Now that the news is out, Forshee said she’s received phone calls nonstop from friends and family.

“I miss my daughter more than I can say,” she said. “I think of her every single day and I would give anything to have her back, but I know that this step is a step that she would be happy about that we’ve gotten to this point.”


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