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Crime News Cold Cases

What Happened to Ylva Hagner, Who Mysteriously Disappeared in Redwood City Nearly 30 Years Ago?

Ylva Hagner was 42 years old when she disappeared, last seen in her Bay Area office. Nearly three decades later, a search was conducted at the home of a boyfriend.

By Lauren Schumacker
Missing woman Ylva Hagner

In 1996, Ylva Hagner was working at a software company in Silicon Valley when she disappeared. Nearly 30 years later, it's still unknown what happened to her.

Hagner’s car was found several days after she vanished with the keys still in the ignition, but there was no sign of her. In the days after, the community rallied to search for her, but was unable to locate her — or her body.

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While it’s been almost three decades since Hagner was last seen, investigators haven’t given up on finding out what happened to her and recently searched areas of Redwood City in hopes of gathering more evidence and potentially finding her remains.

Who was Ylva Hagner?

Hagner was 42 years old when she vanished in 1996, according to SFGate. She was a graduate student at Stanford and was also working as a software company marketing manager in Belmont, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Originally from a small Swedish town located near the Arctic Circle, Hagner moved to the United States around 1985. She was last seen at her office, wrapping up work tasks, according to CBS News.

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She was described by friends as smart, friendly and outgoing, according to SFGate, and spoke three languages: English, German and Swedish. Friends from Silicon Valley and the European expat community aided in the search for Hagner, passing out flyers and photos, hoping that someone would know something about what happened to her.

When did Ylva Hagner go missing?

Hagner was last seen on October 14, 1996, according to CBS News. She was working late, finishing up her tasks, and a company executive saw her at the office when leaving at around 9:30 p.m. Hagner hasn’t been seen since then. The software company she worked at filed a missing person report two days later, according to USA Today.

Her car was found unlocked and with the keys in the ignition on October 18, four days after Hagner was last seen in her office in Belmont, according to CBS News. USA Today noted that the car was found less than a mile away from the software company’s offices.

In the aftermath of her disappearance, Hagner’s father and brothers flew in from Sweden to aid in the search, SFGate reported, and friends and family members even consulted a psychic to try to find any information that might lead to what happened to her.

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Those close to Hagner were questioned during the initial phases of the investigation, but when investigators were unable to find many, if any, leads, the case went cold.

Now, 27 years later, investigation into the case picked up again this year.

Have there been any developments in Ylva Hagner's cold case investigation?

In May of 2023, FBI agents, evidence technicians, and other law enforcement conducted a search related to Hagner’s disappearance, searching a park and a home. “The case has been refocused and we are conducting an investigation in Redwood City into the whereabouts of Ylva Hagner,” Belmont Police Lt. Pete Lotti said, according to CBS News. “In the hopes of bringing some closure in the case.” The property searched is owned by Thomas Pressburger, who the San Francisco Chronicle identified as Hagner’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance. Pressburger — who has not been accused of a crime in the case —  is a NASA computer scientist, USA Today reported.

Investigators have been tight-lipped about what, if anything, they found in the Redwood City searches.