Sept. 23 marks 24 years since disappearance of Amber Wilde

The family plans a balloon release while detectives have never given up on the case
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:23 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s been 24 years since the disappearance of UW-Green Bay student Amber Wilde.

“I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that it would be going on for this long and not having any answers,” said Laurie Ehnert, Amber Wilde’s aunt.

Ehnert said her family holds an eco-friendly balloon released for Amber in West Bend, her hometown.

“I have six grandkids now, you know, and I try to tell them a little about her,” said Ehnert. “She’s got two sisters that both have kids now and you know, they want them to know about Amber and what a special person she was.”

Amber was last seen on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1998. She was 19-years-old at the time of her disappearance.

Amber had gotten into a minor car accident and called her family to tell them she was OK. She placed the call from the landline phone in her August Street apartment at 7:16 p.m. That was her last known contact with her family.

Amber was just over four months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

“He or she would have been, you know, done with high school now already. And, you know, how crazy is that to think of her having a child because we still think of her as 19,” said Ehnert.

On Oct. 1, 1998, Amber’s silver four-door Subaru was found in the parking lot of the former 50 Yard Line Sports Bar and Roadstar Inn off Lombardi Access Road near Lambeau Field. The FBI says witnesses came forward to say they had believed the vehicle to be parked there since Sept. 28, 1998. It had 600 unexplained miles. Amber’s purse and cell phone were in the trunk. The key was in the ignition. The driver’s seat was pushed all the way back. It’s an unusual position for someone like Amber who was only 5′5″ tall.

The lead investigator on the case, Green Bay Detective Dave Graf, released a statement saying, “The case, as always, is still an active investigation and continues to be worked on when leads become available. Law enforcement investigation techniques, especially in the area of DNA processing, are continuing to advance. I believe that this case can be resolved someday to help bring closure to Amber’s Family. If anyone has information regarding Amber’s disappearance please contact the Green Bay Police Department.”

“She was a young woman with goals and dreams and she was taken away from us and we just want to hopefully find some answers to what happened to her and, you know, be able to put her to rest,” said Ehnert.

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The UW-Green Bay student was 19 when she disappeared. that was 24 years ago.


Action 2 News has been reporting on this cold case for two decades. Warrants unsealed in 2016 revealed Amber Wilde’s unexpected pregnancy as a motive in the case. Those documents identified a main person of interest as the father of the unborn child, Matthew Schneider.

Detective David Graf told Action 2 News communication with Schneider and those close to him has proven to be difficult.

“At this point and time, they still haven’t provided answers to our questions about what they were doing that day and the days after,” Graf told Action 2 News in 2018. ″We know we’ve been lied to. How do you make somebody account for that? That’s the frustration that we’re having.”

Subpoenas reveal the court held a secret hearing, also known as a John Doe hearing, in which Matthew Schneider’s close friend was ordered to provide a statement. Nick Petit said “he could not remember what he did that night.” However, he did say he was “most likely not home.”

Neither Petit or Schneider have been charged in the case.

If you have any information, contact law enforcement or use CrimeStoppers to remain anonymous.

Amber Wilde has been entered into NamUs. That’s the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

CLICK HERE for Amber’s NamUs entry.

CLICK HERE for the FBI entry on the Wilde case.

The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit has helped lead detectives out of state to talk with more people.

“I think there’s other people that know too, that could be a hero and come forward and help, not just us, but Amber’s family,” Graf said.