A random interview on Mexican TV shared to TikTok may hold answers in the case of a little girl who vanished in Washington in 2003.

It was on February 4, 2003, the day before Sofia Juarez’s 5th birthday, that the little girl tried to take a trip to the store with her uncle. A miscommunication between family members led to Sofia’s uncle being unaware she wanted to go with him. He left without her and the little girl decided to start walking to the store. She disappeared without ever crossing her uncle’s path, never to be seen again.

Fast forward to 2021, a TikTok post shows a Mexican woman being interviewed on the street when the subject of birthdays comes up. She shares an unusual response about not liking birthdays and believing she was kidnapped. The video and the woman’s appearance are leading many to believe this may be Sofia Juarez.

 

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The case of Sofia Juarez was a major one in Washington State. On February 4, 2003, the day before Sofia turned 5, she was at the home she lived in with mom Maria Juarez. Sofia’s grandmother and several aunts and uncles also lived in the home.

 

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Maria got Sofia’s shoes on and gave her a dollar to spend at the store. By the time Sofia made her way downstairs and outside, her uncle had left. At that point, the rest of the family thought the little girl was with her uncle. Sofia saw that he drove away, at which point police believe she tried to walk the short distance, just five blocks, to the store.

Sofia never made it to the store. Several witnesses recalled seeing the little girl walking on her own and thought it was unusual. The family wasn’t aware of the miscommunication until Sofia’s uncle returned from the store without her and contacted police immediately.

The investigation into Sofia’s disappearance was thorough. She was the subject of the state’s first use of the Amber Alert system. Door-to-door searches were done in her neighborhood. The FBI even became involved in the investigation.

 

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Sadly, aside from sightings, there wasn’t a lot of evidence as to what happened to Sofia. Maria died without learning what happened to her daughter. Police have continued to work on the investigation over the years. In early 2021, police sent out a truck showing her photo alongside an age-progression photo, which drove around the state. The truck drove through the West Coast, Canada, and Mexico. The truck’s trip marked 18 years since Sofia’s disappearance.

@akayalla ¿Será de aká o será de allá? 😳#culturageneral #preguntas #culiacan #sinaloa #viral ♬ sonido original – Aká y Allá

Police became aware of the TikTok video in April and began investigating it. Their goal was to locate the woman and determine she was safe before performing necessary testing to determine whether or not she is Sofia. The case coming back into the news led to a flood of new information.

Police then announced a “high degree of interest” in the location of a van that was seen in the area the night of Sofia’s disappearance. Kennewick Police described it as a light blue or silver (or gray), older 1970s to early 1980s full-sized panel van with no side windows.

In early June 2021, police announced that they believe they are in contact with the family of the woman seen in the interview. Her family asserts that it is not Sofia and say the woman is now in a rehabilitation center. They ask for privacy as they handle difficult family matters. Still, police are continuing the investigation with the intent to use DNA testing to verify whether or not the woman is Sofia.

Based on previous information now verifiable by newer information, police have been able to issue a suspect description. Kennewick Police say the suspect was a 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, he was described as light complexioned, about 5’0″ to 5’2″, “chubby” based on facial features with a “baby face” with a possible mark on a cheek. He had dark short wavy hair about 1 1/2-inches long that appeared greased flat, with bangs. He was noted for possibly having big hands for a person his age.

 

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A couple, who choose to remain anonymous, have decided to come forward and offer a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the discovery of Sofia’s whereabouts.

“Sofia was a beacon of sunshine who had a bright and innocent life stolen from her. Her family, friends and community have lived under a dark cloud since she was taken from us. Sofia was, and still is, loved by all who knew her,” police noted.

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