Details of Disappearance
Gesler was last seen in Auburn, Washington on March 13, 1976. She left her husband and children at home in the 400 block of north Prospect at 11:00 a.m., saying she was going to rent a hotel room so she could be alone and study for an upcoming college final exam; she was taking night classes to become a paralegal secretary. She was driving a metallic blue 1973 Mercury station wagon. She said she would return the next day.
Gesler kept a hairdresser's appointment in Auburn, Washington that day. She never returned home and has never been heard from again. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in a municipal parking lot at 1st Street northeast and B Street in Auburn.
Authorities believe Gesler was murdered by her ex-husband, Glenn Allan Bagley. Photos of Bagley are posted with this case summary. It was his car Gesler was driving on the day of her disappearance, and phone records prove he called her a few days before.
Investigators believe he was responsible for the 1973 disappearances of Althea Blankinship
and her son Jeffrey
as well; they lived in a small rented apartment inside Bagley's home in Port Townsend, Washington, and he was the last person to see them.
Bagley moved to the Philippines shortly after Gesler disappeared and worked as a civil engineer in the capital city of Manila for many years. He never spoke to Washington police again, although over the years they tried to build a case against him for murder.
He maintained his innocence in all three cases and claimed he was building a cat house in his garage on the day Gesler went missing. His then-girlfriend supported his story, but in 2004 she recanted and told the police Bagley had threatened her life. He supposedly said if she ever revealed anything he'd told her, she would "end up in the same culvert in Quilcene as Esther."
Bagley died of cancer in the Philippines in February 2016. Gesler's case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Kent police are investigating her disappearance.