What happened to Adrienne Salinas? She called a cab, but never made it to the pick location; her remains were found a month later in the Arizona desert.
She vanished in the 14 minutes between her speaking with a cab driver and then failing to arrive at her requested pickup location.
Adrienne Celeste Salinas was a 19-year-old student at GateWay Community College in Maricopa County, Arizona, when she went missing after a party in the early morning hours of June 15, 2013. Nearly two months later, on August 6, 2013, her remains were discovered in a desert washbasin near Apache Junction, Arizona.
Prior to her disappearance and mysterious death, Adrienne was an aspiring journalist, described by her father, Rick, as an “... intelligent, responsible, and motivated young woman who loves watching movies and reading.” Adrienne had a tattoo of a sun on her neck just below her left ear, and she also wore a lip piercing with a clear stone. She was very close with her younger brother, and she had a long-time boyfriend, Francisco Arteaga, whom Adrienne had met in eighth grade. At the time of Adrienne’s disappearance, Francisco described Adrienne as his best friend and the only girl he had ever loved.
The day Adrienne went missing
Adrienne and her roommates hosted a party at their apartment near West Fifth Street and South Hardy Drive on the evening of June 14, 2013. Adrienne and her boyfriend, Francisco, got into an argument and decided to leave the party around 2:30 a.m. on June 15, 2013, so they could go to his apartment in Scottsdale and talk. Francisco claims that Adrienne did not want to stay overnight at his apartment, so he drove her back to her own apartment around 3:00 a.m. — Francisco never saw her after that.
Before 4:00 a.m., one of Adrienne’s roommates saw her leaving their apartment again, but this time, she has an overnight bag. Adrienne was reportedly planning to drive back to Francisco’s apartment to stay there. At approximately 3:45 a.m., someone called Tempe Police to report that a car had hit the median near Ash Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, popping two tires, and was attempting to leave the accident site. Police confirmed that the car was Adrienne’s after they found it abandoned nearby later that day.
After leaving the accident scene, Adrienne is believed to have returned to her apartment once more to change clothes, though no one saw her before she left again — this time for good.
According to phone records, Adrienne called Francisco 11 times between 4:10 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. and texted to let him know she was coming over. At approximately 4:53 a.m, she spoke with a cab driver to arrange a pickup at a nearby AM/PM convenience store at the corner of Hardy and University drives. But when the cab driver arrived, Adrienne was not there. The driver was unable to reach Adrienne by phone — it was later determined her phone had been turned off around 5:07 a.m. Francisco says that Adrienne never made it to his apartment again that night.
When Adrienne’s remains were discovered
Adrienne’s father, Rick, and Adrienne had been planning to spend Father’s Day together on June 16. But, when Adrienne didn’t call or connect with Rick on Father’s Day, he began to worry and reported her missing. Police opened an investigation, searching her neighborhood and interviewing people who knew Adrienne — even going as far as searching nearby Tempe Town Lake — but their efforts yielded no official suspects or significant leads. Both Francisco and the cab driver were questioned and eventually cleared of any suspicion.
Nearly two months after Adrienne’s initial disappearance, a man reported finding human remains on his property on August 6, 2013, after being tipped off by the sudden presence of vultures. Autopsy results were inconclusive, with the medical examiner’s report finding both manner and cause of death to be undetermined. To that end, the Department of Public Safety was able to use DNA evidence to confirm that the remains were those of Adrienne Salinas.
Despite the inconclusive autopsy results, once Adrienne’s remains were located, police treated the case as a homicide. They believed it was likely someone dumped her body in a different location from where it was found, and a rainstorm likely washed her remains to where they were eventually discovered.
Where the case stands today
Adrienne’s case is still unsolved, with a current classification of a suspicious death. To date, no one has been named an official suspect or charged with any involvement. There is a $20,000 reward being offered to anyone who provides information about the person or persons responsible for Adrienne’s death.
Adrienne’s family and friends continue to hope that one day they will get the answers they seek—and that Adrienne will finally get the justice she deserves.
Anyone with information about Adrienne’s case should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department at 480-350-8311.