On a warm August evening, Janina Maciejewska sits on a lawn chair in the backyard of a house in Berwyn. Her husband, Zygmunt, is next to her. Not long ago, those sitting nearby were once strangers. Now, she says, they’re family—important players in Maciejewskas’ search for their daughter, Anna, who’s been missing since April.
Janina, 78, offers a small tired smile. She’s undergoing treatment for cancer, and she’s just made her second flight in four months across the Atlantic from Warsaw, Poland—and exhaustion is compounded by grief.
According to police, 43-year-old Anna Maciejewska was last seen by her husband, Allen Gould, on April 10. She was leaving the couple’s Charlestown Township home on Hedgerow Lane, where they reside with their 4-year-old son. She never made it to work at Voya Financial in West Chester.
Maciejewska communicated regularly with her parents in Poland. On March 27, she spoke with Janina on the phone about coming for a surprise visit for Zygmunt’s 80th birthday—she had a present for him. “Anna, if you come home, it’s the best present,” Janina told her.
The following day, she delayed her trip. She had things to do at work. Janina suggested visiting over Easter. Anna said they could talk about it later.
On March 29, Anna told her mother she couldn’t fly out—and that she missed them. A day later, Zygmunt got a birthday text message from Anna in Polish with two mistakes. “Anna knew Polish,” says Zygmunt.
“It’s impossible for Anna to do this mistake.”
On April 8—a Saturday—Janina called Gould and asked to speak to Anna. He said Anna would call her on Monday. She wondered, “Why not Sunday?”
Janina called again on Monday. “I have no idea where she is,” Gould told her. “She didn’t come back.”
Janina asked if he’d been to the police or checked Anna’s old house, which she still owned in West Chester. According to Janina, Gould said he was busy with work and his son. “We informed police earlier than he did,” Janina says, pointing out that they called the police from Warsaw on April 11 and that Gould reported her missing the following day.
Anna had taken two weeks off from work. But, according to state police, she didn’t return on April 10, her first day back. Three days later, Janina arrived in the area to help Gould with her grandson and search for Anna. Her stay on Hedgerow Lane was abbreviated. Janina was “disgusted” when Gould went on with an Easter celebration. During Janina’s spells of crying, he told her, “She’ll come back.”
Thereafter, Janina moved to a Residence Inn in Malvern.
On May 8, Anna’s dark-blue 2011 Audi A4 was located at the Charlestown Meadows overflow parking lot on Ashtree Drive in Malvern, near neighborhood walking trails. Five days later, 40 investigators—including Embreeville state troopers, search dogs and state police academy cadets—conducted an extensive search of the Charlestown Meadows development, the surrounding neighborhoods, and a wooded area around the walking trails. Searches were also conducted in the area around the house, and Pennsylvania State Police detectives and forensic units executed a search warrant at Hedgerow Lane on July 20. Police were initially allowed in the house when Anna was reported missing in April. But since then, Gould had not allowed entry.
Through his West Chester-based attorney, Evan Kelly, Gould declined to comment for this story. Chester County Assistant D.A. Michael Noone won’t comment on whether Anna’s house in West Chester was searched, or if Gould was brought in for questioning. “I would encourage anyone who has any information regarding her disappearance to contact the Pennsylvania State Police,” he says. “This is an open and ongoing investigation to find out what happened to her.”
Lt. William Donahue of the State Police in Embreeville echoed similar sentiments. Is he confident that she’ll be found? “I’ve been involved in a lot of investigations, including murder investigations,” he says. “We’re hopeful she’s going to be found.’
More than 4,000 miles from her daughter’s last known whereabouts, Janina struggles to fall asleep. She spends most of the night praying or crying. When she does sleep, she dreams of Anna. “Unfortunately, I think she is not alive,” says Janina. “I am looking for her body. I want to take her body to Poland.”
Until then, sleep will elude Janina Maciejewska.
Anna Maciejewska is 5-foot-4, weighs about 160 pounds, and has hazel eyes and blond hair. Anyone with information on Anna’s whereabouts should call (610) 486-6280 or 911.