Kristen Modafferi finished her shift at Spinelli’s coffee shop at the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco around 3 p.m. on June 23, 1997, and asked a co-worker for directions to Baker Beach. The North Carolina State University student was living in San Francisco for the summer to take a photography course at the University of California at Berkeley while working at Spinelli’s. Modafferi, 18, was seen 45 minutes after her shift ended on the second floor of the galleria speaking with an unidentified blonde woman. This was the last confirmed sighting of Modafferi.
The manager of Spinelli’s claimed Modafferi left the mall by herself. She never picked up her last paycheck. Bloodhounds brought in to help in the search tracked her scent to the Geary Street No. 38 bus stop outside the galleria. The bus travels to Sutro Park Beach and the dogs were able to find Modafferi’s scent there, but no other evidence was found.
Jon Onuma made an anonymous (at the time) call to KGO-TV in San Francisco and said he knew the identity of two women who had been abducted and buried under a bridge near Point Reyes. After Onuma admitted to making the call, a witness came forward and said Onuma threatened her and said, “Now you know what happened to Kristen Modafferi.” However, a subsequent investigation into Onuma did not lead to any charges and he eventually moved to Hawaii. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton signed into law Kristen’s Act, which helps track missing adults. In 2005, funding for the law and the National Center for Missing Adults expired, but the center has continued to operate thanks to volunteer efforts. Modafferi remains missing.