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Glendale mom of missing 15-year-old teen: ‘I just want her back’

(Photo courtesy of Jessica Nuñez)

PHOENIX — The search continues for a 15-year-old girl with autism more than a week after she was reported missing.

Jessica Nuñez said her daughter, Alicia Navarro, disappeared from their Glendale home in the early morning hours of Sept. 15.

Nuñez said it’s out of character for Alicia to leave without telling anyone. She fears her daughter is in danger and could be with someone she met online.

“I don’t get it,” Nuñez said. “I just don’t understand what lured her or what made her make the decision.”

Alicia is very high functioning but still needs help with everyday skills, such as socializing with others. Nuñez said she stopped working to care for her daughter after she was diagnosed with autism several years ago.

The teen started attending Bourgade Catholic High School a month ago and had anxiety for several days. But Nuñez said her daughter never expressed she was unhappy at home.

“I really don’t know what to think in this situation,” she said. “I’m just really desperate. I don’t understand how she could just disappear like that.”

Last Friday was Alicia’s 15th birthday. Nuñez celebrated by singing in front of a cake. She handed pieces of the cake to volunteers who are helping look for her daughter.

Nuñez said the morning her daughter disappeared, the back door of their house was slightly open. Her husband noticed there were several chairs next to the block wall in their backyard. Nuñez said she assumes Alicia used the chairs to jump over the wall.

A day after her disappearance, Nuñez found a note on top of Alicia’s desk. The note read: “I ran away. I will be back. I swear. I’m sorry.”

The Glendale Police Department is now working with the FBI and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children on the case.

Nuñez said she remains hopeful that her daughter will come back home.

“She did put in that letter that she swore she was going to come back,” Nuñez said. “I’m waiting for her to come back because she did leave intentionally with the goal to come back.”

“I just want my daughter back,” she added. “Whoever she’s with, I just want to get that message that I just want her back.”

A Silver Alert was activated on September 16 for Alicia’s disappearance. She is 4-foot-5 and weighs 92 pounds. She has brown hair, brown eyes and wears braces on her teeth.

Anyone with information as to Alicia’s whereabouts should call Glendale Police at 623-930-3000.

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