Details of Disappearance Zeilenga was last seen on a sailing trip with her husband in the Pacific Ocean on September 20, 1998. She and her husband had left San Francisco Bay in their 30-foot Catalina sailboat, called the City Scape, en route to Santa Cruz, California to visit their daughter.
That night, the couple ran into trouble on the water north of Ano Nuevo State Reserve, due to high winds and large swells. The boom on the mainsail snapped at 4:00 a.m., and the Zeilengas decided to turn around and go to Half Moon Bay so they could dock and make repairs.
About five miles offshore, while Zeilenga was driving the boat and her husband was tying things down, a large wave struck the boat and she was thrown overboard. She was wearing a life vest, but no harness or safety line. Zeilenga's husband saw her in the water, but after a short time he lost sight of her.
The boat filled with six inches of water and both the engine and the radio failed, so Zeilenga's husband wasn't able to get help. He dropped anchor for awhile, then got the jib sail to work and tried going in circles looking for his wife, but he never saw her again. He was spotted by a passing boater two days later, rescued by the Coast Guard, and hospitalized for treatment of broken ribs and dehydration.
Zeilenga is presumed drowned, but her body has never been located in spite of an extensive search. San Francisco police are investigating her case.
- San Francisco Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 14, 2019; details of disappearance updated.