Within months of Angela Hall’s disappearance in 1997, Myrna Solis gave up hope of ever seeing her half-sister alive again.
“I know what kind of mom she was,” Solis said Tuesday after Hall’s remains were identified by the Lorain County coroner’s office. “She would never abandon her children.”
Bones belonging to Hall, who sometimes went by her maiden name of Angela Serrano, were found March 22 on Rt. 58 by the New London-Eastern Road intersection in Huntington Township.
The 25-year-old mother of four was last seen getting into a car in downtown Elyria on Jan. 9, 1998, according to Capt. Donald Barker of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.
Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner, said the death has been classified a homicide, but the cause of death may never be determined.
Evans said there were no obvious signs of death such as blunt trauma, bullet wounds, or knife wounds.
After the discovery, Evans said Lorain police notified his office that the remains might be Hall, who was 4 feet, 10 inches and weighed about 120 pounds — the same size as the remains. Dental records and DNA samples from Solis and her mother confirmed the identify.
Evans credited several forensic anthropologists from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., who assisted the investigation. Evans said they went through hundreds of files of missing women and the process was extremely difficult because of the number of missing women nationally.
Evans said there was no way to tell initially whether the remains were of a local woman until Lorain police contacted his office.
At the end of 2013, there were 84,136 missing person cases entered in the National Crime Information Center database, according to the FBI. “We went through a lot (of files) until we got a lead and then were able to focus more on some of the local missing people,” he said.
Solis said her half-sister grew up in Cleveland and moved to Lorain in 1992 or 1993. Her last job was as an exotic dancer at Bugsy’s SpeakEasy, a club in downtown Elyria.
Solis described Hall as funny and outgoing. She did impressions of southern accents and liked to sing rhythm and blues including songs by Mary Jane Blige.
Solis said she waited a few weeks before reporting her sister missing to Lorain police, thinking she might be on a trip with a boyfriend.
Solis said she has no idea who killed Hall or what the motive was. She said Hall didn’t say she’d been threatened or express any fears in the last few months before she disappeared.
Evans said he was pleased his office could provide some comfort to Hall’s family.
Given the time that has elapsed, he said solving the case will be difficult. “But the fact that we have an identification helps a great deal,” Evans said.
Solis said she is praying that Hall’s killer will be caught.
“I know that God is faithful and I know that we will find out one day,” she said. “We all have to account for the things that we’ve done. You can’t get away with it.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.