Family pleads for help to find missing 12-year-old Utah girl
Jul 18, 2023, 8:21 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2023, 11:41 am
SALT LAKE CITY — A Glendale mother pleads for help finding her 12-year-old daughter, who went missing Monday afternoon while walking home from Glendale Middle School.
“I just want her back, and I just want to know she is safe and healthy,” said Maria Jose Olvera Peralda.
Olvera Peralda said her daughter calls her every day on her way home from summer school to check in, but when she didn’t call by 1:10 p.m. and then wouldn’t answer her phone, she worried something was wrong.
“The third call, she didn’t answer either, and from there, the cell phone was turned,” Olvera Peralda said.
The mother said she left work and started calling her daughter’s friends; however, the last time any of them recalled seeing her was at school.
The family reported the missing girl to Salt Lake City police. They then began canvasing the neighborhood and located several security videos that they believe show a person in a hooded sweatshirt approaching their daughter from behind as she was walking home and aggressively grabbing her arm.
“A boy or a man comes behind her, and grabs her, almost threatening her,” Olvera Peralda said.
KSL TV obtained the video from the homeowner, as well as a second security video from a resident about a block away that appears to capture the girl running from the person in the hooded sweatshirt across a church lawn.
Salt Lake City police confirmed Tuesday that they have copies of the security videos and say they’re investigating the disappearance, but they say they can’t confirm if the woman in the video is her.
The department’s PR Unit issued this statement when pressed for information about the case:
“Our officers and detectives have been working on this case with urgency since we were made aware (the girl) was missing on the evening of July 17th, 2023. We are using all available resources to find (her), and we encourage everyone in our community to keep an eye out for her. Anyone with any information about (her) should contact police by calling 801-799-3000.“
“We are worried sick about her. Hope she is OK, it’s not like her to do this,” said Santana Alverado, her cousin.
As the family gathered at Olvera’s Glendale home on Tuesday, cousins shared pictures of the missing girl and described her as shy, with a close group of friends. They described her as a typical pre-teen who likes music, watching TV, chocolate and Coca-Cola.
Santana Alverado said it was out of character for her cousin to disappear like this.
“This is not normal,” she said. “Please, if someone sees her or notices something too, please call the number posted online or the police department.”
The family has suspicions of who was caught on camera grabbing Olvera and chasing her, and they said they’ve given the information to police to investigate. In the meantime, she’s pleading for the public to keep an eye out for her.
“Her eyebrows are pink, her hair is long, and she had it tinted at the end with the color purple,” Olvera Peralda said.