Wendy Kathleen Hudakoc
Age-progression photo of what Wendy might look like at twenty-five
Wendy Hudakoc was last seen leaving a party with an adult male on 11/15/1998 in the city of Naples.
- Missing Since: November 15, 1998 from Naples, Florida
- Classification: Endangered Missing
- Date Of Birth: August 12, 1984
- Age: 14
- Height: 5’6″
- Weight:130 lbs.
- Hair Color: Brown
- Eye Color: Hazel
- Race: White
- Gender: Female
Fourteen year old Wendy Hudakoc believed that nothing really bad ever happened to her or her family.
Her stepfather, Dan Campbell, said the lack of concern about the dangers of the world, common in younger people, may have played a role in the pre-teen sneaking out of her home on Nov. 14th, 1998, to attend a party.
She never came back and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“When kids sneak out to go to a party, the worst thing they think is going to happen is they’re going to get caught and grounded by their parents or caught by the police,” Campbell said. “They don’t think they’ll never return home.”
Almost 14 years since her disappearance, Wendy is one of two dozen children missing from Lee and Collier counties, according to the Florida Law Enforcement. Many of those are suspected runaways, a few are suspected parental abductions and the rest are categorized as “endangered.”
National Missing Children’s Day; A day set aside every year to celebrate the missing children who have been returned home, and to remember those who have not. Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the United States, an average of over 2,000 a day, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics.
Most are recovered, many after only a few hours and or only (approximately) 100 or so, are abducted or murdered by a stranger or vague acquaintance each year in the US.
“As a parent, you just have to be vigilant and take precautions, take certain measures to prevent something from happening to your children,” said Amelia Vasquez, the program director for the National Center’s Collier branch. “Parents just need to be prepared.”
Sgt. Stefan Loeffler from the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Crimes Bureau said his unit needs to remain optimistic that the children they’re looking for can be recovered and reunited with their families. He said they never give up.
“We keep on investigating the cases until we find that person,” Loeffler said. “We continually investigate, try to generate new leads.”
Included on the list of missing children in Lee and Collier counties are 6-year-old Adji Desir, who disappeared from outside his grandmother’s Immokalee home in January, and “Baby” Bryan Dos Santos-Gomez, who was abducted from his mother at knife point on Dec. 1, 2006.
Pictured; Adji Desir (6) abducted in FL at knifepoint in 2006
Those cases made headlines, but several other children on the list did not, including 16-year-old Carmen Bautista, who authorities believe ran away from Immokalee in June 2008 with her then-2-year-old daughter Jemni Bautista, and baby Ana Maria Jimenez-Bautista. Authorities do not have photographs of any of the Bautista children, which makes finding them all the more difficult.
Herb Jones, vice president for external affairs and Internet safety for the National Center, said one in six missing children is ultimately found in part because of a photograph. He said parents cannot take their children’s safety for granted, no matter where they live.
“It can happen to anyone at any time. Small cities, big cities, medium-sized cities,” Jones said.
Authorities say the most important thing parents can do to keep their children safe is to communicate with them.
Campbell said parents should get to know their children’s friends, including their full names and a little backround information. Always ask where they’re going and to keep in touch.
The last person Wendy Hudakoc was known to be with was Ronald DePeppo, then 20, who she had met at a bowling alley. They left the party together around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 15. DePeppo said he dropped Wendy off at home.
Campbell said he and his wife, Shelley, are not optimistic Wendy will one day walk back through their door. They’ve resigned themselves to knowing she is gone.
Both Dan and Shelley Campbell are now active in with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Missing and Endangered Person Information Clearinghouse.
“We still talk about Wendy on a normal basis. It’s not taboo. We still have pictures of her up,” Dan Campbell said. “It never goes away.”
Below are other cases of missing people from Naples, FL
Brenda Ovalle was last seen Feb. 3, 2004 at age 16, leaving her uncle’s house in East Naples. She may be in Mexico with her family.
Magdelina Andres Pascual was last seen May 26, 2004 at age 15, at 301 S. Ninth St. in Immokalee. Detectives believe she left with her boyfriend in a red car.
Eleuteria Hilario was last seen Nov. 17, 2004 at age 17, leaving her home on Delray Boulevard in Tice to do laundry. Detectives have been unable to reach Hilario’s parents since 2006.
Fabiola Salomon, 11, and her brother, Jairo Lopez, 8, were last seen Jan. 20, 2005 in Fort Myers. Their mother, Lidia Lopez, may have taken them to Virginia or Mexico.
Darwin Garcia was last seen June 13, 2008 at age 15. Detectives said he was last seen in Mexico with his family.
Wendy Ramirez-Beristain was last seen Nov. 9, 2008 at age 1. She may have traveled to Mexico with her father.
Adji Desir, a 6-year-old who has been missing since Jan. 10, 2009, was last seen in Farmworkers Village in Immokalee wearing a blue and yellow shirt and shorts, and black and gray sneakers.
Marissa Hernandez was last seen April 23, 2011 at age 17, at 300 Colorado Ave. in Immokalee, wearing a white T-shirt and bluejeans. She left in a tan minivan with possible tag 149VJP.
Olga Sanchez was last seen June 9, 2011 at age 15, 5180 16th Place S.W. in Golden Gate. She is listed as a runaway.
Jesus Sebastian Frias, 15; Aldo Emilio Frias, 13; and Irene Elizabeth Frias, 10, were last seen at 860 Hampton Circle in East Naples. Detectives said the children’s mother, 36-year-old Claudia Elizabeth Frias, took the three to Mexico without their other parent’s permission.
Irma Vasquez was last seen Aug. 1, 2012 at age 12 at Immokalee Community Park wearing a black shirt and cutoff jeans. Detectives said she has been seen in the Seminole Indian Reservation. She is listed as a runaway.