HIGHLAND VILLAGE (CBSDFW.COM) – There has been a possible break in the case of a missing Dallas teenager. Alejandra Gonzalez first disappeared on Wednesday of last week. Family members explained that the 18-year-old special needs student from Sunset High School has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old girl.
But the missing teen may have been spotted on Wednesday night.
Authorities in Denton County were called about a suspicious person in the 600 block of Chin Chapel Road in Copper Canyon. That is where the girl may have been seen. Carmen Craig is the witness who believes that she saw the missing girl and called 911. “I asked her, ‘Are you okay?’ and she said, ‘Yes,'” Craig told CBS 11 News, “but you could tell she was scared.”
A deputy with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office said that he also spoke with Gonzalez at about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Pilot Knoll Park, but he did not know that she was a missing person. The deputy stated that the teen refused his help. After talking to her and Craig, the deputy took a look at his bulletins and was able to determine that the “suspicious person” was in fact Gonzalez.
Craig said that she was frustrated because the deputy could not view pictures of missing persons in his vehicle. They had to sort through simple descriptions to figure out who the person could have been. And even then, it was not until Craig found a photograph of Gonzalez that she could confirm the missing girl’s identity.
The deputy returned to the area to find the teen again, but it was too late. She was already gone.
Pilot Knoll Park is more than 30 miles away from where Gonzalez lives.
“She looked like she was a little upset,” said Chief Deputy Rex George. “She made mention that she was actually walking to a house nearby to see a friend, and she was a little bit disheveled looking.”
Law enforcement officials spent Wednesday night searching the area for Gonzalez, but have been unable to locate her again. Crews knocked on doors in the area early Thursday morning. They also looked through barns and buildings in case she was trying to shelter herself from the bitter cold of the early morning hours.
Police are confident that she is still in the area. “The family brought out some clothes and we tracked her scent,” said George. “We know that she was in the area, but we cannot locate her.” That scent went cold after about a quarter of a mile.
Tricia Bradford — along with many others — saw the news reports and decided to volunteer her time assisting with search efforts. “We’re a small community,” she said, “and so, just thought better use of our time and, you never know, might get lucky. So, we thought we’d just get out.”
Gonzalez left school without supervision during lunch last week. The last confirmed sighting of the teen was near the school, in the 2100 block of Jefferson Boulevard. “She can’t speak fully. She doesn’t have an extended vocabulary,” said cousin Stephanie Molina. “She tries to communicate by, she’ll point or she’ll make signs to try to make us understand what she’s trying to tell us.”
There was one other possible sighting of Gonzalez sometime last week near a DART train station in the West End area of Dallas. Ron Sherwin of the Dallas Police Department’s Youth Services said that the teenager likes trains and planes, and was previously found alone on a DART train in 2011.
Police have also been using downtown Dallas cameras to help track Gonzalez, but have not been successful.
“We all know it’s a really cruel world out there,” added Molina. “We don’t know if she has shelter, if she’s eaten anything. We just want to know that she’s okay, that she has been getting some food in her stomach. We just hope that she’s okay.”
Gonzalez has been described as a Latin female, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was seen on Wednesday wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt and blue jeans, and carrying a blue moving blanket. This outfit is different from what she was wearing when she disappeared, so she was somehow able to change clothes. Anyone with information about Gonzalez’s location is urged to contact the Dallas Police Department at 214-671-4268, or simply call 911.
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