Lifestyle & Human Interest

Unsolved: Children Still Looking for Mother Who Disappeared After a Halloween Party 23 Years Ago


Veronica “Voni” Safranski left a local bar in Warren, Minnesota, after attending a Halloween party with friends on the evening of Oct. 26, 1996.

She never came home.

It’s been 23 years since Safranski’s disappearance, but her case still remains unsolved.

The 40-year-old mother of four was last seen by her friends at Mick’s bar, but one of her friends realized she couldn’t find Safranski around 12:30 a.m.

According to NamUs, the friend couldn’t find her after returning from a trip to the restroom.

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Witnesses later told investigators they saw her leave the bar with a man, later identified as Kevin Skjerven, in a 1977 Dodge Power Wagon.

She was still wearing her Native American costume, but left her coat and purse at the bar, according to NBC News.

Safranski was casually dating Skjerven, who had previously been convicted of sex crimes, following a separation with her husband.

Have you heard of Safranski's disappearance before?

Skjerven quickly became a person of interest for investigators after the belt from the missing mother’s costume was found three miles away from his rural home.

During the investigation, Skjerven confirmed that he left the bar with Safranski that evening, but claimed to not know what happened to her afterward.

Although he was considered a person of interest, Skjerven has never been named as a suspect in the 23-year-old case.

Ever since then, investigators have continued to review Safranski’s case and conduct searches. None have led to any answers, however.

Lisa Ann Rodrigez told NBC’s “Dateline” she remembers the night of Oct. 26, 1996, well.

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Rodrigez was only 13 years old at the time, but she still clearly remembers the fear of her mother never coming home.

She said even though she and her three siblings haven’t given up hope that investigators could find their mother, her 13 years of memories are beginning to fade.

“I’ve lived more of my life without her than I did with her. I have a 13-year-old daughter now and I think about what that would be like for her,” she said.

“She had such a great laugh, but it’s fading. Her laugh is fading from my memory.”

As the 23rd anniversary of their mother’s disappearance approaches, her four children hope that someone will come forward with the right information.

“There are so many rumors and theories, I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Rodrigez said. “We’re not victims, we just want answers.

“We’re at the point where we don’t want her to be alone anymore. We just want her back. We need to know where she is.”

Chief Deputy Jon Tinnes told “Dateline” that even though he didn’t start working on the case until 2015, he still follows up on every tip the department receives.

“Honestly we’re at a loss,” Tinnes said. “But we keep pushing. We track down every lead and every tip we get.

“I want to believe that someone out there knows something. They just need to come forward with the information.”

If you have any information regarding Safranski’s disappearance, please contact the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office at (218) 745-5411.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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