Details of Disappearance
Stephen and his wife, Jenny Sun-Reisberg
, left their residence in Boston, Massachusetts on August 27, 1990 for a hiking trip in the Tetons. They had been married for less than a year at the time. The couple decided to travel to San Francisco, California shortly afterwards to visit a friend, then took a flight to Kauai, Hawaii.
Stephen and Jenny apparently decided to hike Mount Waialeale in Kauai sometime in early to mid-September 1990. They were scheduled to return home to Massachusetts on September 9, but a witness who saw the couple told authorities that they visited Kauai sometime after that date.
It was not unusual for Stephen and Jenny to change their travel plans unexpectedly, according to their family and friends. They are both experienced hikers and enjoyed traveling when their schedules allowed it.
The former program director of the Kokee Museum of Natural History in Kauai's Kokee State Park told investigators that Stephen and Jenny arrived at the park after September 9. He was the last person known to have seen them.
He stated that the couple studied maps of Mount Waialeale, which is located in the park, for an extended period of time. He mentioned that they were both very intelligent and determined to hike the mountain, though he attempted to dissuade them from it. Mount Waialeale has few trails and is considered a rather difficult climb. The couple departed from the museum and have not been seen again.
Stephen and Jenny were initially reported as missing on September 24 by a professor at Harvard University in Massachusetts, where Jenny was a doctoral candidate at the time.
Their rental car was located approximately two weeks after their disappearance. The vehicle was discovered at the Pu O Kila lookout in Kokee State Park. It was fully packed with the couple's backpacks, tents and suitcases for their trip home.
An extensive search of the park unearthed only a scarf. It is not clear whether the scarf belonged to Jenny. A hiker told investigators that he heard a female moaning in the park approximately ten days earlier; again, it is not known if the woman was Jenny and the report has not been confirmed.
The area of Kauai visited by Stephen and Jenny is known to be rather dangerous. Marijuana plantations exist around the region and two hikers were killed by growers in 1990, the same year the couple disappeared.
Investigators do not know if Stephen and Jenny met with foul play or if they were involved in an accident. Authorities believe it is unlikely, but not impossible, that two people traveling together in the area had fatal accidents.
Rumors persist that Stephen and Jenny may have staged their own disappearances. An associate of Jenny's told investigators that she said Stephen was not interested in being a doctor. However, Stephen was apparently happy with his new position at the New England Medical Center.
A memorial service was held for the couple later in 1990 in Massachusetts. Many of their friends and family are still confused about Stephen and Jenny's disappearances and hope for a resolution to the case. Their files remain open and unsolved.