Homer hasn’t given up hope.
Community members and family friends gathered at noon for a candlelight vigil at WKFL Park on Saturday, Feb. 1 for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, 38, who has been missing from her Homer home since Oct. 17, 2019. Whether they knew her personally or not, each of those attending were determined to support the effort to “bring Duffy home.”
A vigil was first held for Murnane at WKFL Park on Nov. 23, 2019. Now past the 100-day mark since Murnane went missing, the community rallied again to remember her and remind the public that she is still out there.
“There’s two purposes to this vigil today,” said Christina Whiting, a friend of the family who has been helping with publicity. “We want to remind people that she’s still missing, that we’re still looking and won’t stop until she’s found. The community has rallied behind (Murnane’s) family since October. So we want to keep the community energized and show that the love and compassion and support to Ed and Sara (Berg) and Duffy hasn’t waned.”
Those attending the vigil held signs by the roadway affirming their love and support for Murnane and her family, proclaiming “We (heart) Duffy,” “We Miss Duffy” and “Bring Duffy Home!” Nestled in the snow or cradled in the hands of her friends and supporters were also 38 candles, each one representing a year of Duffy’s life.
Kate Finn, a friend of the family, led a circle of remembrance at 1 p.m. and invited those attending to speak in support of Murnane’s family and share what the vigil meant to them.
“I’d say that I’d want to live in a community that does this,” one person said, referring to the gathering at WKFL Park. “I want to live in a town that doesn’t forget.”
“I think it’s important that all of our daughters know that we would never stop looking for them,” said Cassondra Windwalker, who was attending the vigil. “And I think it’s equally important that the monsters know that we won’t stop looking for them either. Our daughters should be safe here.”
Homer Police consider Murnane to be a missing and vulnerable adult, but her family has said they believe Murnane has been abducted.
“I think it’s important for Sara and Ed to know, and for Duffy to know, that we are holding them all in our hearts,” another person said. “All the time, as we walk through our days.”
“Everybody came here today for a reason,” Finn said. “The theme behind today is ‘kindness is trending,’ and this is a perfect example of that. Everyone came for their own reason. Kindness is under that.”
Support for the search for Murnane is widespread and still ongoing. According to Whiting, people have donated money to the Go Fund Me account for the effort to find Murnane, shared social media posts and distributed flyers across the state.
“She’s not forgotten,” said Whiting. “This is her community. She’s one of us.”
Murnane disappeared on Oct. 17 after leaving her Main Street apartment for an appointment at the SVT Health & Wellness clinic on East End Road. The last confirmed sighting is a security camera photo showing her leaving the Maintree Apartments, a supported housing complex, about 12:15 p.m. that day. Murnane had a 1 p.m. appointment at SVT Health and Wellness Center, about a 1-mile walk from her home. She did not show up for that appointment.
Murnane’s family has put up a $10,000 reward offered through Crimestoppers for any information leading to her return. Anonymous tips can be given to Crimestoppers by calling 907-283-8477. Information on the case is at the Peninsula Crime Stoppers page at www.peninsulacrimestoppers.com.
Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers issued a Silver Alert on Oct. 19 for Murnane after she was reported missing that day. Anyone with information on her whereabouts can call Homer Police at 907-235-3150 or the Silver Alert hotline at 855-SILVR99 or 855-745-8799. A Silver Alert is for an adult considered a vulnerable person.
Murnane was wearing a blue jacket, light-blue shirt and blue jeans the last time she was seen. She is almost 6 feet tall, weighs about 160 pounds and has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes. She carried a pink-and-black plaid purse with a shoulder strap and carried her wallet, cell phone and identification. Police said she does not drive or own a vehicle and got around by walking.
The weekend after Murnane went missing, search and rescue dog teams from Anchorage tracked her in the downtown area, picking up scents from Main Street to Lee Drive, Svedlund Street, Pioneer Avenue and Kachemak Way. Search dogs followed strong scents to Pioneer Avenue area near Cosmic Kitchen, in front of Homer’s Jeans and the Kachemak Bay Campus. There the dogs acted as if there had been what search dog handlers call a “car pick up.”
Police feel confident they have ruled out Murnane disappearing in the downtown area near her home and getting lost because of illness or injury. Police haven’t found anything to suggest Murnane had suicidal or depressive thoughts or that she talked about disappearing.