William Cierzan told his wife dinner was in the oven, and that after watching golf on TV that afternoon with his nephew, he was waiting for her to come home.
When she arrived home, Linda Cierzan found no sign of her husband.
That was two years ago today.
The bizarre disappearance is as puzzling now as it was then. The last words she heard him utter still leave her with questions and no answers.
About 4:30 p.m., Jan. 26, 2017, her husband told her: “I’m putting dinner on.”
The 58-year-old Cierzan was in great spirits, she recalls of that day, when he told her the chicken was cooked.
But when she arrived at their home on Cuatro Milpas Street, near Seco Canyon Road, in Saugus, less than two hours later, she found the chicken cooked, with the oven turned off.
Her husband’s wallet, keys and coat were in the house, with credit cards and money in the wallet.
The family dog was in the house. But there was no sign of Cierzan.
Two years later, there is still no sign of the loveable, hard-working, church-going man faithful to his wife.
“Tomorrow will be the second year that my sweet husband Will has been missing,” Linda Cierzan said Friday.
“I periodically get calls and emails from friends and concerned people who still think about Will and offer heartfelt and hopeful comments about his safe return.
“Some might say that Will’s sisters and I are being foolish to hope that Will is coming back any time soon. To those I would say — but you don’t know our Will,” she said. “He is strong and good, considerate, determined, he is ever faithful to God and so I know that God will be faithful to him.”
The detective assigned by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau to the Cierzan case remains committed.
He contacted the family two months ago, but with no new information.
For Will Cierzan’s sister, Andrea Peck, receiving no information has kept the family in limbo.
“In some ways, Will has never left us,” she said Friday, on the eve of the anniversary. “It’s like we’re in limbo.
“Having no information protects us in a way,” she said. “So that we don’t have to respond yet. When we find the truth, then we’ll have to deal with it.”
A shudder of dread ran through the missing man’s family last month when a human skull was found west of Magic Mountain Parkway and Railroad Avenue.
Lt. Derrick Alfred of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau expressed hope that DNA or dental records would reveal not only the identity of the deceased, but also what happened.
Investigators with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner are still working on the case.
For the Cierzan family, it was the hope that the mystery would be solved juxtaposed against the dread that the human remains could be those of Will Cierzan.
“When they found that skull, I started to think, ‘Now, we’ll have to deal with death,’” Peck said.
No information has been released on the skull, coroner spokeswoman Nani Cholakians said Friday.
“It’s still a Doe,” she said, referring to the fact that investigators have not yet determined the gender, leaving it neither John Doe or Jane Doe.
“We continue to believe this will be resolved, that the truth will come. And, we hang on to that,” Peck said of the disappearance.
In the meanwhile, however, the mystery remains as profound as the day it happened.
“We feel the same way we did on the day it happened,” Peck said. “We have no more information than we had on that day.”
The missing man’s wife has a message for the scores of people who after all this time continue to express concern and interest in the case.
“All I ask is that the readers take a moment to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for what and who they have in their lives and then take one more minute to say a prayer for Will’s safe return, as well,” she said. “On behalf of the family, I would like to thank you. God bless you.”