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‘The worst thing’: FBI, Ogden mom seek help in locating teen who went missing in Mexico City

Jul 10, 2024, 9:07 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2024, 10:11 am

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FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

UPDATE — The 14-year-old and her two younger cousins, 6 and 4, were located safely at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday. The FBI said Mexican authorities located the three girls with the suspect, Antonio Moreno in Veracruz, Mexico.

Moreno was issued a federal arrest warrant on charges including kidnapping. He was awaiting extradition to the U.S. as of Saturday.

“The FBI would like to thank our law enforcement partners in Mexico and the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Mexico City for their valuable assistance in this case,” the FBI said.

The original story continues below. 


SALT LAKE CITY — All Alma Soreque wanted was for her daughter to learn about her Mexican roots, about Mexican culture.

So the 14-year-old Ogden girl, a U.S. citizen who finished seventh grade in May, traveled in mid-June to Mexico City to spend the summer at her grandmother’s house. But she went missing from her grandmother’s Mexico City neighborhood on June 30, and now Soreque — a Mexican transplant to Ogden — is pleading for help from the public to locate her, aided by the FBI and Mexican authorities.

“My daughter, I love you. We miss you so much. We’re not going to stop looking for you,” Soreque said Wednesday in a meeting with reporters at the FBI field office in Salt Lake City. Though living in Ogden, she had been attending Roy Junior High.

Steven Hymas, an FBI special agent, also addressed reporters, hoping to bring broader attention to the case so that someone somewhere may have a scrap of information that can help in locating her. FBI and other U.S. officials based in Mexico City are working with their Mexican counterparts as part of the investigation.

“We don’t have any reason to believe that she is not in the country of Mexico at this moment,” said Hymas, dubbing the matter an “investigation of a missing girl.” “That said, we do believe that there will be people here who know information. Maybe they have reached out to friends or acquaintances or other family members who might know something that can help us out.”

Moreover, Hymas noted the omnipresence of electronic communication in this day and age. Even if someone is kidnapped or goes missing, he said, “If they can communicate with others, they will try.”

Anyone with information can reach out to the FBI field office in Salt Lake City at 801-579-1400, other FBI offices or, if abroad, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Tips may be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.

Telemundo Utah said in a report Monday that two younger cousins of the missing girl also went missing, but neither Hymas nor Soreque said they could speak to that aspect of the case. Telemundo identified the two other girls as Sofia Mailen Moreno Zamora, 6, and Regina Moreno Zamora, 4, and Amber Alert Mexico said the girls — Mexican citizens — had gone missing on the same day and from the same area of Mexico City as the missing girl.

Soreque said she had spoken with her daughter earlier in the day she went missing. She had traveled alone to Mexico City on June 15 and was to remain there until Aug. 7.

“We just talked about how she slept and then she said, ‘Grandma is getting breakfast ready for us,'” Soreque said.

Later, Soreque said, her daughter went to a neighborhood store in the Azcapotzalco section of Mexico City, where her grandma — Soreque’s mother — lives, to get a soda. Soreque grew up there and described the community as having a “small town” feel, even if it’s located within the expansive Mexico City metropolis.

From there, things are cloudy. “There’s surveillance video of (the girl) getting into a taxi. We believe she was manipulated by an adult to get into that taxi, and we have not seen her since,” Hymas said.

Later, Soreque received word that her daughter never returned to her grandmother’s home and almost immediately reached out to authorities. “Horrible — it is the worst thing that a mom wants to hear,” she said.

Soreque described the girl as smart, talented and compassionate and spoke of the forces that brought her from Mexico to the United States. Soreque also has a son and another daughter, while Hymas said her father “has not been a part of her life.”

“You know everything we do as Hispanics is to search out a better life for our children, so they have better opportunities in life. I’m one of those mothers,” Soreque said. “I came to the United States looking for a better life for them.”

That said, Soreque also noted the continuing connection to Mexico for those who leave the country and the hope parents like her have of imparting the culture to their kids.

“Obviously, we miss our country. We miss our culture, and our hope is that our kids can experience what we love,” she said. With the turn of events on June 30, though, she’s “living through one of the worst nightmares not knowing where she is.”

The situation is taking a toll on her other kids as well.

“We are having a hard time not knowing about you. We need you to know that you are very important to us in the family. Your sister misses you. Your brother misses you. I love you,” she said. “I just pray day and night to know anything about you, where you are, if you’re doing OK.”


Editor’s note: The names and photos of the missing girls were removed from this story after they were located, due to their age and safety.

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‘The worst thing’: FBI, Ogden mom seek help in locating teen who went missing in Mexico City