17 years later, family frustrated with lack of clues in teen's murder

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

It has been 17 agonizing years since a teenage girl disappeared off a rural Skagit County road, her body eventually found beaten to death.
    
Every day since then, her family has searched for answers.

None have come.
 
"She was a very trusting girl," said Jammie Wicklander. "She was from a small town in Wisconsin where everyone knew everyone. I don't think she ever met a stranger."

That endearing trust may have led to the demise of 13-year-old Lydia Braschler-Varo.

In 2001, the teen was visiting family in Skagit County. On July 2nd, she went for a walk down Highway 9 toward a convenience store near Big Lake.   
  
She never returned.

"There's someone out there who killed a little kid. A baby," said Wicklander, the girl's aunt.

"They need to be brought to justice," added Luana Reece, another aunt.

Seventeen years later, they are still seeking that justice.

The case is cold. It is one of 11 unsolved killings in Skagit County.

Deputies questioned a cousin who was among the last to see Lydia alive, but the family says he passed several polygraph tests.

They also say DNA taken by detectives turned up no suspects anywhere in the United States or Canada.

"It's beyond frustrating," said Reece. "It's just heartbreaking. Someone could've offered her a ride to the store or she could've been grabbed off the street. We just don't know. "

A small memorial still marks to spot where Lydia's body was found off of Lake Cavanaugh Road, about 6 miles from where she was staying.

Lydia would've turned 30 this month, likely raising her own children.

"We think about what our family has missed out on, what our sister has missed. What should have been," the aunts said.

Lydia's mother, Marie, currently resides in Missouri.

She asked her sisters to speak to KING 5 News with the hope of jogging some memories and producing more leads.

"Somebody out there knows something," she said, via telephone. "We need to find out what happened."

If you have any information about the case, contact the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.

© 2017 KING-TV


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