Sylvia Ann Lee

Sylvia, circa 1995

  • Missing Since 10/31/1995
  • Missing From Campbell, California
  • Classification Non-Family Abduction
  • Date of Birth 03/26/1978 (40)
  • Age 17 years old
  • Height and Weight 4'11 - 5'0, 110 - 125 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black sweatshirt and black pants.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown/hazel eyes. Sylvia has a tattoo of her nickname, Shorty, on her left hand. She may dye her hair blonde or black.

Details of Disappearance

Sylvia was last seen in Campbell, California on October 31, 1995. She said goodbye to her boyfriend and boarded a bus en route to a light rail station, where she planned to catch a train to her grandmother's home in San Jose. She never arrived and has never been heard from again.

Wilbur Atcherley pleaded guilty to Sylvia's murder in 2011, sixteen years after her disappearance. He was already serving 61 years to life in prison at the time; he had abducted another female and tried to kill her in 1999.

While in prison, on the fifth anniversary of Sylvia's disappearance, Atcherley contacted authorities and confessed to killing her. He said he met at the light rail station and she got into a taxi with him. He took her to a remote area in New Almaden, sexually assaulted her and killed her, then left her body in a creek bed.

Investigators checked his story and found cab records indicating a fare from San Jose to New Almaden on that date. Atcherley had 15 years added to his sentence for Sylvia's death.

Atcherley led police to the spot where he said he'd left Sylvia's body, but a search turned up nothing. Authorities believe her remains were washed away.

Investigating Agency

  • Campbell Police Department
  • 408-866-2101
  • 408-886-2708

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 24, 2011; details of disappearance updated.