Montgomery County

Timeline: Alison Thresher's Disappearance

The disappearance of a Washington Post employee, presumed dead after she vanished in 2000, remains unsolved

A man serving more than 100 years in jail for the rape and abuse of the daughter of a Washington Post employee who vanished in 2000 was identified by police as "a person of interest" in the woman's disappearance.

Alison Thresher, 45, went missing 18 years ago from her Bethesda apartment. In 2001, Montgomery County police ruled her disappearance a homicide. Detectives on Thursday named Fernando Asturizaga a person of interest in the case.

Police have not found Thresher's body.

Asturizaga was the girl's Spanish teacher and also worked as a babysitter for Thresher’s estranged husband, following their separation.

Here is a timeline of events police constructed leading to Thresher's disappearance:

April 28, 1999: Thresher writes a letter to Fernando Asturizaga urging him to cut off all contact with her daughter, Hannah.

June 9, 1999: Thresher writes a letter to Friends Community School in College Park where both of Alison Thresher's children attended school. She writes of her concern about the "inappropriate relationship" that Asturizaga is having with Hannah.

July 1, 1999: Thresher writes a letter to her attorney noting that other parents have shared their concern about Asturizaga and his relationship with their daughters.

January 2000: Thresher calls Asturizaga to complain about Asturizaga and his relationship with Hannah. Asturizaga still babysits Hannah while she is in her father’s custody.

February 2000: "An altercation" between Thresher and Asturizaga takes place outside Thresher’s ex-husband’s house. They argue about Asturizaga continuing to be Hannah’s babysitter.

March 18, 2000: Thresher writes in her journal: "Mad about my thoughts about F (Fernando)" and "Many people have concerns about male babysitters-teenagers."

May 23, 2000: Thresher leaves her parents' home after they have dinner there. Two hours later, she speaks with a friend on the phone and at 11:51 p.m. and 12:17 a.m. she sends an e-mail to a friend.

May 24, 2000: Thresher does not report to work at The Washington Post.

May 25, 2000: Thresher's sister reports to the Montgomery County Police Department that she is missing. Police find Thresher's car on Broad Street in Bethesda.

2010: Thresher's daughter Hannah comes forward to police, saying she and Asturizaga had a sexual relationship when she was a student and he was a teacher from about 1999 to 2001. When the abuse began, Asturizaga was 32 and Hannah was 10.

2012: Asturizaga is sentenced to more than 128 years in prison on multiple counts of child abuse and rape. He refuses to talk to police about Thresher’s disappearance.

2016: With Thresher presumed dead, the lead detective on her case asks to reopen the investigation.

April 12, 2018: Police hold a news conference asking for the public to contact them with any tips on Thresher's disappearance. Hours later, a guard at Western Correctional Institution in Maryland finds Asturizaga dead in his jail cell.

Anyone with information about Thresher's death is asked to call police at 240-773-5070. Detectives are also asking that anyone who may have been victimized by Asturizaga call police.

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