Wendy Hudakoc lived in Golden Gate, Florida with her mother, Shelley, her stepfather, Dan, and her older sister, Sharlene. The 14-year-old was a bright honor student and a member of her school’s softball team.

A month before she disappeared, Wendy met 20-year-old Ronald DePeppo at a bowling alley and they started seeing each other in secret.

One afternoon, Ron called the Hudakoc home looking for Wendy while she was at school. Ron lied and told Wendy’s stepfather that he was 18. Dan angrily told Ron to stay away from his 14-year-old daughter and hung up.

A few weeks later, Wendy vanished without a trace.

On November 15, 1998, Shelley and Dan went to an overnight seminar in Tampa. Dan asked a friend to stay at their house and watch over the girls.

At 9 pm, Wendy received a call from Ron, inviting her to a party in downtown Naples. Wendy begged Sharlene to go with her but the 16-year-old refused. Wendy was the more rebellious of the two sisters and while she often broke the house rules, Sharlene avoided getting into trouble.

Wendy took her stepfather’s pager and promised to return home or call within 10 minutes if Sharlene paged her. At 11 pm, Wendy snuck out of her bedroom window and got into Ron’s blue 91′ Mazda.

She was never seen or heard from again.

Wendy Hudakoc

When Sharlene went to wake her sister up the next morning, she found her bed empty. She paged Wendy several times but never received a response.

Panicked, Sharlene called her parents and told them that Wendy was missing. They frantically rushed home and began searching for their daughter. Dan went to Ron’s house but all he said was, “the bitch probably took off.” Unable to locate Wendy, they called the police and reported her missing.

Witnesses saw Wendy and Ron leave the party together at 2 in the morning. Ron told the authorities that Wendy received a page shortly after that and asked him to stop at a payphone near David Blvd and Airport Rd in Naples.

Ron said that after Wendy made a call, she asked him to take her home because she was going to meet up with someone named Jeff. He claimed he dropped Wendy off at 2:45 am and went to the home of his 17-year-old friend, Johnny Walker Jr., where he spent the rest of the night.

Ronald DePeppo

But according to Johnny, Ron didn’t show up at his apartment until 9 am the morning of Wendy’s disappearance. Ron also had another girlfriend at the time and she told the police that he asked her to fake an alibi for him.

Two weeks later after Wendy disappeared, Ron’s car was destroyed in a fire. He said he was driving around with Johnny when one of them tossed a lit cigarette out the window. It flew back inside, lighting a pair of jeans sitting in the backseat on fire. The vehicle was soon engulfed in flames.

Investigators found a hammer in the trunk with a hair fiber attached to it. Unfortunately, the evidence was far too damaged to be tested for DNA.

Johnny Walker Jr.

Johnny initially said he didn’t know who Wendy was and that he had never met her before but several years later, in 2018, Johnny forgot his own lie and contradicted himself when he stated he knew Wendy well and that Wendy and Ron had been dating for a few weeks when she vanished.

Ron DePeppo was ultimately named the prime suspect in Wendy’s disappearance while Johnny was named a person of interest. Ron later moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he became a homeless transient. Johnny Walker Jr. is a registered sex offender who lives in Ruskin, Florida.

Neither of them has ever been charged in connection with this case.

“I don’t think I’ll ever find her alive, I don’t think I’ll ever go up and be able to give my sister a hug again, or talk to her, ask her what happened, but I would like to find her remains and put her to rest.” — Wendy’s sister, Sharlene

An age-progression photo of Wendy at age 33

Today, Wendy would be 38. She was 5ƌ” and 130 lbs with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a red, white, and blue tank top and jeans. Wendy wore braces and she had a scar on her left hand. If you have any information, contact Collier County Sheriff’s Office at (239)-252-9300.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *