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Reward spotlights 15-year-old disappearance
Foundation takes up cause of missing Lodi woman

By Jason Williams
Record Staff Writer
Published Thursday, June 19, 2003

With a poster-board-size sketch of her daughter smiling brightly in the backdrop, a Lodi mother made a tearful, public plea Wednesday for help.

"I knew the night she vanished I would never see her again," said Sue Kizer, whose daughter, Gayle Marie Marks, disappeared about 15 years ago, at age 18. "The terror that has enveloped my heart that night has taken over my life," said Kizer, a mother of two daughters.

Kizer's comments came as the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation announced it would offer a $5,000 reward for information on the woman's whereabouts.

"She needs answers," said Mark Winbigler, a program coordinator for the foundation. "She won't give up until she gets these answers."

Marks was last seen at the Department of Motor Vehicles, at American and Park streets, about 10 a.m. on Oct. 18, 1988. She was applying for an identification card.

Kizer last saw her leaving her office at San Joaquin County Mental Health. She turned around and waved, Kizer recalled.

"It's not easy," she said. "I have my bad days."

On the way to Kizer's job that day, Marks talked about applying as manager at a pizza place where she worked on El Dorado Street. Marks was scheduled to work at the pizza parlor that night.
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Instead, she called her mother's house about 5 p.m. and left a message on the answering machine: "Hi, it's me. I called."

That was the last Kizer heard from her.

Kizer has tried unsuccessfully to get the story of her daughter's disappearance on "America's Most Wanted" and "Unsolved Mysteries."

Police too have had little luck in investigating the case.

"Clues have been few and far in between," said Stockton police Lt. Tom Gaumer, who is investigating the disappearance. "Any case is difficult as time goes on. ... It's difficult, but not impossible."

Police have checked databases such as the DMV, trying to find any activity with Marks, but to no avail.

They also have searched unsuccessfully for possible suspects. That search led to serial killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, Gaumer said.

Shermantine in 2001 was convicted of four murders and was sentenced to death row. Herzog that year was convicted of three murders and given 78 years in prison.

"We have looked at them," Gaumer said. "They haven't been ruled out and have not been positively made suspects either," he said. "We looked into it as far as we can take it, but this is as far as we can go."

Kizer, 56, who lives in Lodi, said she has given up hope of finding her daughter alive. Her search now is a search for closure.

"I'm hoping this will bring them forward," Kizer said. "I need closure on this. ... What would you do if this was your child?"

* To reach reporter Jason Williams, phone (209) 546-8276 or e-mail


Web sites about the case

Sue Kizer has a Web site at to collect signatures in an effort to get television's "American Most Wanted" to do a story about her missing daughter, Gayle Marie Marks. She also has a site outlining the case,
/ca2/Gayle Marks


Back to Gayles Page