Updates on Sofia's Investigation

Successful investigations are the result of the police and the community working together to bring justice for victims and their families. Often times this is a direct result of communication between the police and the community. On a monthly basis, we will provide an update on Sofia’s investigation. Hopefully, this will foster a dialogue which will result in bringing Sofia home.


Updated 08/23/2021:

 

Sofia’s case was featured on the August 23, 2021 episode of The Vanished Podcast, hosted by Marissa Jones. The Vanished Podcast is a true crime podcast on the Wondery network, with over 2 million listeners each month and more than 85 million downloads. The episode can be accessed at http://www.thevanishedpodcast.com/episodes/2021/8/23/episode-301-sofia-juarez 

 

Police continue to follow-up on the TikTok lead. The female allegedly shown in the video reportedly continues to remain in a rehabilitation facility. Police are trying to overcome obstacles to conduct a video chat with the female, discuss with her the comments made in the video, and try to obtain a voluntary DNA sample.

 

Police also continue to follow-up other leads concerning the suspect and suspect vehicle. 

 

We extend our thanks to those who have contacted us to provide information on this very important case. We encourage others to reach out to us via the Tip Page on this website. 

 

Updated 06/02/2021:

 

Update on the TikTok video: 

 

Thank you to those who sent the 50 tips on the TikTok video posted under “akayalla”. We also extend our thanks to TikTok personality “ozzbala” (TikTok user name) / “ozz” (YouTube user name) for his cooperation during the investigation. 

 

As noted in the comment sections of the posts, the female in the TikTok videos is currently in a rehabilitation center. We have been in touch with alleged family members who claim she is the person depicted in the videos. They deny she is Sofia, and seek privacy in handling a family matter. We will continue investigation to confirm 1) She is the person in the videos, 2) Inquire about her claims of having been kidnapped, and 3) Verify she is not Sofia through DNA comparison.

 

New: Suspect description released:

 

As previously noted, a witness observed a female matching Sofia’s description walking along the sidewalk on S. Washington Street near E. 15th Avenue. The observation corresponds to the approximate time that Sofia would have arrived on foot in that area. A person approached the young female. 

 

The witness observed the person, described in detail below, approach the young female and lead her away towards a van that was occupied and stopped at the next side street. Sofia cried as the person laughed.

 

The adult witness reported the incident to police the next day, immediately after seeing media accounts of Sofia’s disappearance. After viewing a photograph of Sofia, the witness confirmed the young female was Sofia. Police determined the witness to be highly credible. 

 

Police kept the suspect description confidential at the time due to active investigations being conducted on people of interest. A description of the van was released at the time, resulting in 24 tips reported to police.

 

After a recent complete and thorough review of Sofia’s case, based upon available information at this time and with the benefit of 18-years of investigation into this case, police believe the witness observed the initial stages of Sofia’s abduction. Police currently believe the van and its occupant(s) may be associated with the suspect who led Sofia away.

 

Police obviously have a very high degree of interest in the suspect and the suspect van. Anybody who has any information on a person and van seen in the area of S. Washington Street near E. 15th Avenue between 8:00 pm and 9:15 pm on February 4, 2003 is asked to contact police. Police are also seeking information from the public on anybody who may have operated a similar type van and either lived nearby, would have passed through the area at that time, or driven by as part of their regular route or routine.

 

Police are interested in any information people may have, regardless of how minimal it might be. Somebody out there knows what happened to Sofia, or at least have suspicions about someone that may have been involved. Now is the time to come forward and help bring answers to Sofia’s family and our community.

 

Suspect Description (as provided by witness): Hispanic juvenile male. Estimated to be 11 to 14 years old at the time (now about 29-32 years of age). At the time of occurrence, described as being light complexioned, about 5-00 to 5-02, believed to be “chubby” based primarily upon facial features, having a “baby face” with a possible mark on a cheek, dark short wavy hair about 1.5 inches long that appeared greased that lay flat with bangs, and possibly having big hands for a person his age.

 

Suspect Vehicle: Light blue or silver (or gray) older 1970’s to early 1980’s type full-sized panel van with no side windows. Had appearances of possibly being a work-type van, the type that contractors or painters may have used. This is not to imply that it would have been a contractor or painter’s van.

 

New: Reward offered

 

A Kennewick couple has very generously offered a $10,000.00 reward for information leading to the discovery of Sofia’s whereabouts. The husband and wife, both of whom request anonymity, were touched by Sofia’s story and would like to do everything they can to help bring resolution for her family. 


Updated 05/05/2021:

 

Thank you to the over 75 people who have called or left tips on the Sofia website over the past month. Previously unknown names and information have been provided. We continue to investigate the TikTok video.

 

Through investigation a highly credible witness was identified. The witness observed a female matching Sofia’s description walking along the sidewalk on S. Washington Street near E. 15th Avenue. The observation corresponds to the approximate time that Sofia would have arrived on foot in that area. A person approached the young female and led her away as she cried. Police have a detailed description of that person, but are withholding it at this time for investigative purposes.

 

An occupied van was also observed stopped on a nearby side street. It is described as a light blue or silver (or gray), older 1970’s to early 1980’s full-sized panel van with no side windows. It had the appearance of being a work-type van, the type that contractors or painters may perhaps use. This is not to imply that it would have been a contractor or painter’s van.

 

Police now have a high degree of interest in this van. Anybody who has any information on a van like this seen in the area of S. Washington Street near E. 15th Avenue between 8:00 pm and 9:15 pm on February 4, 2003 is asked to contact police. Police are also seeking information from the public on anybody who may have operated a similar type van and either lived nearby, would have passed through the area at that time, or driven by as part of their regular route or routine.

 

Updated 04/22/2021

 

We are aware of the TikTok video. Investigation is being conducted into that. Thank you to those who sent information on that video to us. It is appreciated.

 

Updated 04/05/2021:


A number of tips have been received over the past month. Some of these tips have provided previously unknown information and names. Investigation continues to be conducted into all tips received. On behalf of Sofia’s family and the community, the police department extends their thanks to those who have stepped up and volunteered information to help bring closure for the family.

 

Updated 03/05/2021:


On February 4, 2021, the 18th anniversary of Sofia’s disappearance, the Washington State Patrol’s Homeward Bound Program unveiled semi-trailer rigs that will drive throughout the country with images of Sofia emblazoned on the sides of their trailers. 

 

The WSP collaborated with Kam-Way Transportation to make this a possibility. In other cases, the Homeward Bound Program has succeeded in generating new leads by displaying the images of missing children on semi-trailers.

 

These rolling billboards travel across the West Coast and into Canada and Mexico. Sofia is currently one of five children featured in the program.


truck


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