It’s been almost two months since Adalid Aguirre Alvarez disappeared from her Dallas, Texas neighborhood of Oak Cliff and nobody seems to know what happened to her.
On December 15th, the very next day after Aguirre walked out of her home, but failed to return, a troubling exchange of text messages between her and her oldest daughter, Josandy, sent the family scrambling.
In the text messages Aguirre first tells her daughter she’s on her way back home but then, in a second text message sent a couple of hours later, she reveals that she’s been badly beaten and that “they” won’t let her leave. Her 2003 Ford gray pick-up truck was found three days later, a few blocks from the family’s home. Yet police say there are no signs of foul play.
Initially questioning whether her mother’s immigration status had something to do with the priority level given to the case by the Dallas Police Department, Josandy Alvarez and her father took matters into their own hands and set out to spread the word. Alvarez began sharing flyers and information on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and a few other websites and forums dedicated to finding missing people. The duo then expanded their outreach by attending local community meetings, engaging local officials and the Mexican consulate, calling media outlets and federal law enforcement agencies, and even welcoming into their home anyone wanting to help.
“All I’m doing is trying to get the word out,” she told NBC Latino. “From the outside in, it may seem like I’m calm but that’s just what I’ve had to do for my younger siblings, keep calm.”
Alvarez is the oldest of five children to Israel Alvarez and Adalid Aguirre. She is currently a senior in the top 10 percent of her class at Moises E. Molina High School in southwest Dallas and dreams of becoming a doctor.
Immediately taking over her mother’s role in the household, Alvarez says the holidays were tough in the midst college application season. This past week she accepted an offer of admissions from Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas, where she’ll be attending in the fall and majoring in genetics. She says this difficult time has really taught her to appreciate everything her mother did for the family and she has plans to honor their special bond.
“My mother was more than a mother, she was my best friend,” she says. “Me going away to college wouldn’t mean that I’m leaving the situation, but my mother would always tell me to go to college because she wanted me to have a better life than she did. She would always use her and my dad as examples to show us to take advantage of all of the opportunities they didn’t have.”
In the meantime, her father, who has permanent residency and works as maintenance staff at a local lamp factory in the outskirts of the city, still works long hours even though he’s had to cutback to be home more.
The youngest child, Janicza, is afraid to fall asleep at night because she has nightmares of her mother being tortured, he says.
“We are desperate to find her,” Israel Alvarez says. “I know she didn’t just leave on her own, she would never leave her little ones. And the truck? She loved her truck so much, she wouldn’t leave it. She didn’t even take anything with her, not even her papers. I know that she’s alive.”
A story published by the Dallas Morning News exactly one month after Aguirre’s disappearance prompted an outpouring of support from the community that led to connections with several local groups, like the Oak Cliff Dallas Texas Latino Facebook community and others, to spread the word and help get the family much-needed financial help. On Monday, with the help of an Ohio woman who came across the story on a missing person’s page on Facebook, Josandy even created a Facebook page solely dedicated to finding her mother. She manages it daily.
She wishes police would be able to pinpoint what happened to her mother.
“They have done more than in the beginning but I wish they could do more — find something that could piece it all together for us to know if she actually ran away or was kidnapped,” Alvarez says.
She says the detectives have become more attentive, calling regularly, and just this week she was called down to the station, where the detective shared all the testimony police received and bank statements.
“They are clearly doing their job,” she says.
She was then asked to submit paperwork for the Texas Missing Person’s Clearinghouse, a searchable online database managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety Missing Persons that lists all of the missing people in the state of Texas.
Still, police have told Alvarez that there are missing pieces they don’t understand and that anyone with information will hopefully come forward.
“At this point, whatever the case, we just want to know that she’s OK,” Alvarez says.