Monday, February 6, 2006

Sofia Juarez now missing 3 years--Kennewick, Washington

Last Saturday, February 4, marked three years since a little girl named Sofia Juarez mysteriously disappeared in Kennewick, Washington.
The two photos show Sofia around the time she went missing and what she might have looked like at age 7.
Info and photos from The Charley Project (
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: February 4, 2003
from Kennewick, Washington
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of
Birth: February 5, 1998
Age: 4 years old
Height and Weight: 3'0, 33
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black hair, brown eyes. Juarez was
missing her top four front teeth at the time of her disappearance. She has a
mole under her eye. Her ears are pierced.
Clothing Description: A red
long-sleeved shirt, blue overalls, violet socks, white Converse sneakers, and
gold hoop earrings.

Details of Disappearance
Sofia was last known to
be playing with her brother in her bedroom between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. on
February 4, 2003, the day before her fifth birthday. She left the bedroom and
told her mother, Maria Juarez, that she was going to the store five blocks away.
She was supposed to be accompanied by her grandmother's boyfriend, Jose Lopez
Torres. Maria gave Sofia a dollar to spend at the store and assumed she caught a
ride with Torres. Sofia did not get into the car, however, and Torres left
without her. No one saw her leave the house. When Torres returned from the store
at 9:45 p.m. and said Sofia had not gone with him, Maria alerted the
Sofia's disappearance was treated as an abduction from the
outset and an Amber Alert was issued. It was canceled after she was not located
within 36 hours. Police continue to believe she was abducted. They have
contacted Sofia's father and say he was cooperative and is not a suspect in the
case. Her father has never met her and is uncertain if he is in fact her
biological parent. Torres has also been ruled out as a suspect in Sofia's
A ten-year-old relative of Sofia's who lives in her home says
he saw her walking down the driveway at about the time she disappeared,
accompanied by a man dressed in a black sweatshirt, black pants, and black
shoes. This sighting has not been confirmed.
A week after Sofia's
disappearance, police announced an interest in a 35-year-old neighbor of
Sofia's. Kevin L. Ireland, who has a record for minor sex crimes, allegedly made
a suspicious comment about Sofia's disappearance over the phone. He took a
polygraph about her disappearance and police served a search warrant on his
house. They were also interested in the Ireland's car, a white Ford Tempo panel
van. A similar van was spotted a few blocks from Sofia's residence at around the
time she disappeared. Ireland was arrested on a traffic warrant unrelated to
Sofia's case a week after her disappearance, and while in jail was charged with
telephone harassment in relation to the comments he had made about Sofia's case.
He has pleaded innocent to the harassment charge and being called a person of
interest but not a strong suspect in Sofia's apparent abduction.
Authorities, in May 2003, announced that in addition to the panel van they
were looking for a mid-nineties model full-sized faded orange van with a license
plate which had a double J in the number. The van's driver was a while male with
a thick blond beard, between 35 and 40 years old. A witness recalled seeing the
van in the area around the time of Sofia's disappearance. Police do not know if
the van is connected to her case.
Extensive searches have produced little of
evidentiary value in Sofia's case. Searchers found a pair of overalls and a pair
of little girl's shoes in the area, but neither belonged to her. Nothing else
was ever located.
Sofia is described as a loving and vivacious child. Her
mother says she is shy and would not go with a stranger without a fuss. Maria
believes that Sofia's kidnapper was someone the child knew and trusted. She
enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls and putting on makeup at the time of her
disappearance, and her favorite food is hamburgers from the fast food restaurant
chain Burger King. Despite a search which extended to Mexico and fairly
extensive media coverage, including profiles on the television crime show
America's Most Wanted and her photograph of the side of a NASCAR racing car,
Sofia remains missing and her case is unsolved.

Investigating Agency If
you have any information concerning this case, please contact: Kennewick Police
Department 509-585-4208
If you know anything about the disappearance of Sofia Juarez, call the Kennewick Police Department at the above number or (509) 628-0333 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST

You can view more photos of Sofia on her Charley Project profile and on her website,
You can print a poster of Sofia here.

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