MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A 25-year-old mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances. 10 months later, her car was found in a body of water in Saraland. Her remains were found inside the recovered car. During the investigation, her car ended up on a Ukrainian car auction website, where it sold for $25. Four years later questions still have not been answered. This is the story of Daniella Vian.

WKRG News 5 is looking back at the crimes that shocked the Gulf Coast. Daniella Vian’s story is the fifth in the series.

Danniella Vian was a working mom in July 2018, who would have done anything for her little girl. Danniella had recently started writing goals for her and her daughter in order to give them the best life possible. One of those goals that Danniella was excited about was purchasing her own car. She would finally be able to drive where she needed to go and not have to ask friends and family for rides.

On July 17, 2018, Danniella was going to purchase her own car. According to an episode of Casefile, the grandmother of Danniella’s daughter took Danniella to the bank to get money out to take to the car dealership. Danniella then went to the dealership, paid for the car and signed all the necessary paperwork. The dealership salesman then showed Danniella different features in the car, including a GPS tracker located underneath the steering wheel. The salesman explained to Danniella that the GPS tracker was put into every car sold through that dealership so that if someone stopped paying for it, the dealership could easily find and repossess the car.

After getting the car, Danniella traveled back to her apartment at 701 South on University Boulevard. She then made plans to go out that night to celebrate her new purchase. Danniella left her apartment at 5:20 p.m. and headed to Bel Air Mall to find her daughter a backpack for school. At 5:50, Daniella arrived at the mall. She also worked at the P.F. Changs in the mall and ran into some of her coworkers while there. After leaving the mall, she traveled 18 minutes to get to Heroes Sports Bar and Grill, where she met one of her friends who worked as a bartender there.

A few minutes after arriving at the restaurant, two more people the bartender knew showed up, a man and a woman. Danniella knew the woman but did not know the man. The group talked for a while before deciding to go to a bar that was 2.8 miles away – Dublin Irish Pub and Eatery. The bartender had to finish his shift but told them he would meet them at Ollies Mediterranean Grill once they left Dublin.

The three people leave and meet back up at Dublin’s at 10:08 p.m. The woman said she was going to go to a different bar to meet some of her other friends. The woman said she would meet Danniella, the man and the bartender back at Ollies. Then, the man decided he would be going home after leaving Dublin and not meeting the other three at Ollies. At 10:45 p.m. the three of them get in their own cars and leave Dublin. In order to get to the third bar, Danniella would have needed to turn left, however, she followed the man she had been with and turned to the right. The woman thought this was odd but didn’t think much else of it.

After about 15 minutes of following the man she was with, Daniella flashed her lights at him, signaling him to pull over. They pulled over into a Shell Gas station at I-65 and Government Boulevard. Daniella told the man she left her phone at Dublin, so they turned around to go find it. While on the way back to the bar, the man noticed that Danniella eventually turned and was no longer following him. At 11:07 p.m., the GPS that was plugged into her car shut off.

The bartender, and the woman they were with, had arrived at Ollies and were waiting for Danniella, but she never arrived. After a few days of not hearing from her, family and friends of Danniella decided to file a missing person report. In an interview with the grandmother of Danniella’s child, the grandmother said it was very unlikely for her not to come home and see her daughter.

The word of Danniella’s disappearance spread like wildfire for the following months. Danniella’s face and car were on billboards, websites and newscasts. For nine months, Danniella was nowhere to be found and no tips were coming into the police even after they put up a reward for information leading to her discovery. Family and friends held fundraisers, handed out flyers and hung up posters all attempting to locate Danniella. Then, in May 2019, a tip came in that would flip this case on its head.

Officers with the Mobile Police Department were completing a diving training exercise in Bayou Sara in Saraland when they found a car submerged in the water. On May 2, 2019, the car was pulled out of the lake and human remains were found inside. After DNA testing, it was determined that the remains were those of Danniella Vian.

Medical examiners said the cause of death was “undetermined” due to the state her body was in. Investigators announced that they believe her death was “accidental” and that foul play was not involved, however, family and friends of Danniella believe something more sinister happened.

During the investigation, friends and family found something – Danniella’s car had been sold as part of an online Ukrainian auction. According to the listing, the car, which was listed as having “damage of major water/flood,” was sold for $25. After other taxes and fees, the total price was $4,150.

A friend of the family and advocate for the case, Shanna Haden, said there are multiple reasons why they believe it wasn’t just an accident. “I think the biggest thing for most is explaining how she got from Government Boulevard at I-65 to Bayou Sara in the shape she was in,” said Haden. “There have also been lots of lies told by the people close to her at the time of her disappearance and switched up stories which lead to more questions.”

One thing that the family questions is how Danniella would have gotten to Bayou Sara. According to the family, Danniella had no connection to Saraland and the drive there takes you through many turns in a residential neighborhood. It is also believed that Danniella was intoxicated due to some audio recordings that were taken on her phone the night she disappeared.

Haden said the police are not actively investigating the case but she believes the case is still open. When asked what citizens of Mobile can do to help, Haden said, “Keep saying her name, keep asking questions, keep talking about her story, even the smallest seemingly insignificant detail could expose everything.”