I spent the majority of my youth in Tucson, Arizona and, although I’m no longer there, it will always be home. It is also a place where I have long suspected someone (or a group of someones) has been targeting female children for over 20 years. One of my first ‘experiences’ with murder happened when I was in 8th grade, as we solemnly watched as the body of 7-year-old Esther “Lizette” Galaz, who disappeared from her home in December 1994, was removed from the drainage ditch near her home. Her tiny nude body was found raped, murdered and discarded beneath a mattress that had been ‘our’ landmark. This was an area the students at our jr high, Naylor Middle School, frequented; a place of first kisses, skipped classes, and first cigarette drags, an area we felt safe with our school looming above it. Poor Ester had lived in a complex closeby that many of our classmates lived, and she was taken from the 7-11 that we hit every day after school as we waited for the city bus to take us safely home. Perhaps the fact that her case was so close to home is why, whenever a child goes missing in that area, we flash back to that day when Esther was recovered. Her case, like several other VERY similar cases, Galaz’s murder remains unsolved.
Just two years later on January 11, 1996, 7-year-old Karen Grajeda went missing, and to this day has not been located. Karen had been rollerblading in her apartment complex with friends when she disappeared, no one saw or heard a thing.
Rodolfo Sedeno Morales, was a suspect in both cases as he was charged and found guilty of kidnapping five girls in 1993 and 1994. He was never officially charged in their cases, although his victims were all the same general age and ethnicity as both girls.
When looking at similar disappearances, not including males (that will be a later post of its own) or teenage females who are considered runaways, the amount of cases in the area is alarming.
12-year-old Amy Marie Yachimec last seen November 06, 1981
13-year-old Brandy Lynn Myers Missing May 26, 1992
Danielle Pitcher, Missing Since May 23, 1993
11-year-old Mikelle Diane Biggs, Missing January 02, 1999
5-year-old Estrella Cordova-Arias, Missing Since Jan 3, 2006
13-year-old Rita Gutierrez, missing since January 08, 2009
12-year-old Yareli Marlem Barajas missing since August 11, 2009
5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, missing on Oct 11, 2011
Isabel Celis, missing April 2012- her body found in a desert in March 2017, case remains unsolved.
13-year-old Maribel Gonzales missing June 4, 2014, and her body was found in a desert area a few days later.
A total of 179 missing and unidentified children span the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Arizona database. Are any of these cases related? My gut tells me yes. Probably not ALL of them were abducted by the same individual or group- but the possibility is there. All of the Jane Does have been determined to not be the remains of the named missing children, although the similarities between some of them made me double check this fact.
If you think you’ve seen one of the still missing children, or may know something that can help find them, or their killer/abductor, please contact:
Or call 911.