The mother of a missing Arizona teen fears that an online predator may have lured her daughter away.
Alicia Navarro, 15, vanished from her family home in Glendale, Arizona last September, the Glendale Police Department said in a press release last year.
Her worried mother Jessica Nuñez told NBC’s Dateline this week that she’s now even more concerned amid the coronavirus outbreak; Navarro has a compromised immune system and takes medication. Police noted that she has autism but is high-functioning and would appear no different than any other teen.
“We just need to find her,” Nuñez told Dateline. “And I need to know that she is safe. My girl is out there alone, without me, and now this virus.”
Nuñez said her daughter vanished in the middle of the night on Sept. 15; she last saw Navarro as she came out of her room for a glass of water before returning to it. Nuñez said Navarro would often stay up late gaming with friends online.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Nuñez said. “It seemed safe to me.”
The next day, Navarro had left a note before stating that she was running away but promised she’d return.
"Never in my mind would I think it would take this long," Nuñez told 12 News in Phoenix around Christmas. "She swore to me that she was going to come back."
Her mother now thinks she may have run off with an online predator.
“I just feel like she’s in danger,” she told Dateline. “She would have never been gone this long — not without getting in touch with me. Someone has her and I’m so worried.”
The Glendale Police Department told Dateline it's not clear if the teen left on her own or if she was lured away but said they are continuing to look for her. The FBI joined forces with the local department days after Navarro vanished, according to Fox10 in Phoenix.
Police say that Navarro has braces and that she turned 15 just days after she vanished. The girl has brown eyes, brown hair and may be wearing a sweatshirt. She was last seen wearing a whitewash denim overall skirt and black and white Vans-type sneakers.
Anyone with information is urged to call Glendale Police at 623-930-3000.
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