Now, more than a decade later, her family believes they know what happened to her.
Preliminary autopsy results suggest that human remains found in a car that had submerged in a pond are likely those of Westenbarger, FOX 59 of Indianapolis reported.
Two fishermen spotted the algae-covered vehicle Wednesday and reported the find to authorities, who had the car pulled from the water. The license plate was a match for the vehicle Westenbarger owned.
It was a gold Cadillac with Ohio plates saying MS ESTER, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
“That’s my sister’s car. It’s Ester’s car, there’s no doubt about it. It’s Ester’s car. Whether or not that’s her in there or not, we don’t know that” Westenbarger’s brother, Bill “Scratch” Pelfree told FOX 59 on Thursday.
Forensic dentistry and examination of DNA will ultimately determine if the remains found inside the vehicle are those of the missing woman, FOX 59 reported.
Family members now believe Westenbarger accidentally drove into the pond while traveling home from the bar in 2009, the report said.
The woman’s son, Dustin, said family members were feeling a degree of closure since the car and remains were discovered.
“I feel like prayers and everyone who has prayed for us, those have been answered,” he told FOX 59.