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FBI, Ogden mother seek help in finding missing Mexico City teen

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

So the 14-year-old Ogden girl, a U.S. citizen who finished seventh grade in May, traveled to Mexico City in mid-June to spend the summer with her grandmother. But she disappeared from her grandmother's Mexico City neighborhood on June 30, and now Soreque, a Mexican transplant to Ogden, is asking for the public's help in finding her, with the help of the FBI and Mexican authorities.

“Elizabeth, my daughter, I love you. We miss you so much. We will not stop looking for you,” Soreque said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters at the FBI’s Salt Lake City office. Although she lives in Ogden, Elizabeth attended Roy Middle School.

FBI Special Agent Steven Hymas also spoke to reporters, hoping to draw attention to the case so that someone, somewhere, might have information that could help locate Elizabeth. The FBI and other U.S. officials based in Mexico City are working with their Mexican counterparts in the investigation.

“We have no reason to believe that she is not currently in Mexico,” Hymas said, calling the case a “missing girl investigation.” “That said, we believe there are people here who have information. Maybe they have reached out to friends, acquaintances or other family members who might know something that could help us.”

Additionally, Hymas pointed out the ubiquity of electronic communications in our time. Even if someone is kidnapped or disappears, he said, “if they can communicate with others, they will try.”

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

Telemundo Utah reported Monday that two of Elizabeth's younger cousins ​​also disappeared, but neither Hymas nor Soreque said they could speak to that aspect of the case. Telemundo identified the other two girls as Sofia Mailen Moreno Zamora, 6, and Regina Moreno Zamora, 4, and Amber Alert Mexico said the girls, Mexican citizens, disappeared on the same day and in the same Mexico City neighborhood as Elizabeth.

Sofia Mailen Moreno Zamora, 6, and Regina Moreno Zamora, 4, disappeared the same day as Elizabeth Gonzalez in the same area. (FBI Salt Lake City Office)

Soreque said he spoke with his daughter earlier in the day about her disappearance. Elizabeth had traveled alone to Mexico City on June 15 and was expected to stay there until August 7.

“We just talked about how she was sleeping, and then she said, ‘Grandma is making breakfast for us,’” Soreque said.

Later, Soreque said, her daughter went to a corner store in Mexico City’s Azcapotzalco neighborhood, where her grandmother, Soreque’s mother, lives, to buy a soda. Soreque grew up there and described the community as having a “small-town” feel, even though it’s located in the greater metropolis of Mexico City.

From there, things got complicated. “There is surveillance video of Elizabeth getting into a taxi. We believe she was manipulated by an adult into getting into that taxi, and we haven’t seen her since,” Hymas said.

Soreque later learned that her daughter never returned to her grandmother's house and almost immediately contacted authorities. “It's horrible, it's the worst thing a mother can hear,” she said.

Soreque described Elizabeth as intelligent, 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 Elizabeth's father “was not a part of her life.”

“You know, all we do as Hispanics is seek a better life for our children, so they have better opportunities in life. I am one of those mothers,” Soreque said. “I came to the United States to seek a better life for them.”

That said, Soreque also highlighted the continued connection to Mexico for those who leave the country and the hope parents like her have to pass on the culture to their children.

“Of course we miss our country, we miss our culture and we hope our children can experience what we love,” she said. But with the turn of events on June 30, she is “living one of the worst nightmares, not knowing where she is.”

The situation also has repercussions on his other children.

“We’re having a hard time not knowing who you are. We need to let you know that you’re very important to us in the family. You miss your sister. You miss your brother. I love you,” she said. “I’m praying day and night to know where you are, if you’re okay.”

The image shows an FBI flyer reporting the disappearance of Elizabeth Gonzalez, of Ogden, who disappeared in Mexico City on June 30 while visiting her grandmother. (FBI Salt Lake City Field Office)

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