In the very early hours of September 15, 2019, Alicia Navarro, 14, sat at her desk and penned a note to her family, saying: “I ranaway [sic]. I will be back, I swear. I’m sorry. — Alicia.” Later that same morning, around 7:00 AM, Alicia’s mother, Jessica Nuñez, noticed that the back door to the house was open, and chairs were placed up against the fence outside. When she ran upstairs to check-in Alicia’s room, her worst fears were realized — Alicia likely snuck out of the house that night and used the chairs to scale the barrier and get off the property. After going through her things, Jessica and investigators concluded that Alicia took a small black backpack with her, filled with her laptop, cellphone, body spray, and makeup, as well as a “Demon in a Bottle” comic book.
Since that night, her family, detectives, as well as federal agencies, are working together to bring Alicia home.
Alicia’s mother Jessica describes her daughter as someone who is typically shy or anxious in some social situations, considering Alicia has been diagnosed with high functioning autism and regularly takes medication. With that, Alicia had a social life, was big into gaming, and would often stay up late playing online games like Minecraft while talking and texting with school friends.
“She’s a sweet girl and loves her family,” Jessica had told reporters and added that in the past, her sweetness had been taken advantage of, and online predators had attempted to make contact with her.
Jessica worries that someone sinister online lured her away the early morning hours of September 15 — just days before her 15th birthday. Part of her worries are exacerbated by the fact that in the months leading up to her disappearance, Jessica says that Alicia began to act differently. Some of these behavior changes and new interests included comic books, fitness and protein powders, fragrant body spray, makeup, uncharacteristically provocative clothing, mature food, and classic rock music — most of which would previously upset her because of her attraction to routine related to her autism.
The last confirmed sighting of Alicia was on September 20, where someone who knew Alicia personally mentioned to her mother and investigators that the day before, on September 19th, they saw Alicia at La Pradera Park, a park approximately 1.5 miles away from her house. Multiple witnesses corroborated seeing a girl that looked like Alicia, adding that she was walking "with an African-American man with tattoos on his hands, neck, and face."
Alicia’s disappearance has sparked several theories, with many focusing on human trafficking and the idea that someone online had convinced her to leave for a few days, and then once Alicia was with them, they must have done something to prevent her from coming home. Investigators also believe she didn’t plan to run away for a long time, considering she didn’t take any chargers with her for her technology and seemingly didn’t pack additional clothing in her backpack.