WAUKESHA COUNTY — A Muskego man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his wife, Dona Mae Bayerl, in 1979, but his family is far from closure.
John Bayerl, 79, was sentenced to life in prison Friday in Waukesha County Court. A jury convicted Bayerl of first-degree murder in June.
"Justice has been served for my mom, but it does not give us answers and closure," said Dona Mae's daughter, Jackie Kort.
Bayerl did not face his family as they told the court about the anguish, grief, guilt and confusion they've experienced during the last four decades without their mother.
"My mom missed out on so much, not just her own children's lives and milestones, but her first grandchild," Kort told the court.
"All that will change is that my dad is now in prison. I still won't have any answers," said Dona Mae's daughter, Jodie Jarvis.
Bayerl told police in 1979 that Dona Mae disappeared after an argument. She has never been found.
As his family begged him to reveal where she is, Bayerl told the court Dona Mae's whereabouts are still a mystery to him.
"My mom missed out on so much, not just her own children's lives and milestones, but her first grandchild." — Jackie Kort
"I've told them once many, many times that if i knew what they want to know, I would be ready to tell them," Bayerl told the court. " But I do not know what happened to her."
The daughters said they will not give up their search for answers, and that all they want is to give their mother a proper burial.
"Although I didn't get the answers I'm hoping for, I do hope this will help other families to not give up on their cases," Jarvis said.