Friday, October 21, 2016

Zoe Campos: Missing Since November 17, 2013

Campos was last seen on the evening of November 17, 2013 in Lubbock, Texas. She and her sister watched a movie at home, and her sister went to bed at 11:30p.m. Campos texted her mother at 2:30 a.m. on November 18 and said she was on the way to pick her up from work. She never picked up her mother and the text message is the last time anyone heard from her. On November 21, her silver four­-door 1997 Lincoln Town Car was found at Driftwood Apartments in the 5500 block of Utica Avenue.
A witness, Campos's aunt, saw a person wearing a dark­ colored hooded sweatshirt driving the vehicle. This unidentified individual abandoned it, ran away and was gone by the time police responded to the scene. Authorities found Campos's jacket in the car's trunk and her phone charger in the backseat.

Campos may still be in the local area. She has connections in the Texas cities of El Paso, Abilene and Austin; her family previously lived in Austin. Her mother stated she had a limited social circle with only a few friends, and described her as a responsible person. She was about to graduate from Matthews Alternative High School and wanted to become a mechanic. It's uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning, and she may be in danger. Her case remains unsolved.

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance:
Missing Since: November 18, 2013 from Lubbock, Texas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: September 4, 1995
Age: 18 years old
Height and Weight: 5'0, 100 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic female. Brown hair, brown eyes.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A mint green corset­style top, a black jacket and black pants.

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Lubbock police say missing woman's past behavior may have put her in harm's way

Lubbock police officials said in a press conference Monday morning, Dec. 2, that a missing 18-year-old woman’s past behavior may have put her in harm’s way. Police officials provided an update on the case of Zoe Gabrielle Campos, who has been missing since Nov. 17. Campos is about 5 feet tall, weighs about 100 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes. Lubbock Police Department Sgt. Chris Breunig, who addressed the media during the conference, did not elaborate on the nature of Campos’ behavior. “Due to the information obtained thus far, plus lack of communication from Zoe, we believe she is in danger,” he said. However, Breunig would not confirm if she was abducted. “At this point she is listed as missing and endangered,” he said. Zoe’s mother, Melinda, said she does not know to what behavior police are referring. “She hardly ever did anything or went anywhere, so I don’t know where this dangerous behavior came from,” she said. She said her daughter was responsible and always let people know where she was. She also said her daughter, who had ambitions to become a mechanic, had a limited social circle that extended to her sister and a few friends.

On Nov. 22, Lubbock police widened their search of the missing woman to Abilene, Austin and El Paso. Bruenig said the cities were added to the search based on her Facebook activity. He added that the Campos family previously lived in Austin. On Nov. 18 — the day of her disappearance — Zoe Campos sent her mother a text message that she was on her way to pick her up from work at about 2:30 a.m. but never showed. Lubbock police received the report she was missing Nov. 19. And on Nov. 21, Campos’ silver 1997 Lincoln Town Car was abandoned at the Driftwood Apartments in the 5500 block of Utica Avenue. A family member spotted an unidentified person driving the car and followed it to the apartments, where the person dressed in a dark hoodie ran away, according to Melinda Campos. Breunig said since Zoe Campos’ disappearance, there has been no activity on her Facebook account or her cellphone. He also advised people who may have information about the case to speak with police instead of posting it on social media sites. “When people put postings out or contact friends or family with this information and it goes through third or fourth parties, we end up getting information or leads that are erroneous in nature,” he said. Lubbock police are offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to locating Zoe Campos, Breunig said.

Tips can also be sent via text message to 274637. Begin the message with LBKTIPS.

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LUBBOCK - The distraught family of an 18-year-old Lubbock woman said they remain hopeful she will return safely. Lubbock police officials believe Zoe Campos, who was reported missing since early Monday morning, Nov. 18, may be in danger. Campos has brown hair and brown eyes, is about 5 feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing black pants a light mint-green corset and a black jacket. Lubbock Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jason Lewis said he could not elaborate on what indicated the danger. Campos was last seen about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, according to her older sister, Savannah. Savannah said they watched a movie at their home in the 3500 block of 50th Street before she went to bed.

Melinda Campos said her daughter was supposed to pick her up from work about 2 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at an East 34th Street bar, but she never showed up. “The last text that I received from her was between 2:30 a.m. and 2:39 a.m. saying she was on her way to see me to pick me up,” Campos said. Her phone calls were never returned and are all going straight to voice mail. Other family members and friends have not heard from Zoe, and it has filled Melinda Campos with anxiety and fear. “I’m very scared for her,” she said. Savannah Campos said her sister always kept in contact with her family. “So it's weird that her phone was off this long,” she said. “It’s weird that she hasn’t come back yet. This isn’t like my sister.” After filing a report with the police Monday, Melinda said officers told her to wait it out, hinting that Zoe might have run away. “If they knew her like we knew her, (they’d know) that’s not (like) her,” she said.

The Police Department's tone changed Tuesday night after officers found the abandoned 1997 silver Lincoln Town Car that Zoe was supposed to fetch her mother in, according to Melinda Campos. Campos said her sister spotted Zoe’s car being driven by an unidentified man. After a brief chase, the man abandoned the vehicle at the Driftwood Apartments in the 5500 block of Utica Avenue. Melinda Campos said she hoped she would find her daughter by the vehicle. “It gave me a lot of hope that the next step was going to be Zoe was going to be right there, and we’re still waiting; we’re still waiting,” she said. All police officers found was Zoe’s black jacket in the trunk and her phone charger in the back seat. “Zoe’s very attached to her phone, so for it to be off with her charger in her back seat, it just sends up red flags to us,” her mother said. Savannah Campos described her sister as a laid-back person who kept to herself. Melinda Campos said her daughter loved being with her sister and her sister’s children. Both women said Zoe’s social circle was limited to her older sister, a cousin and a friend.

“She wasn’t the type of person that would go out to parties or clubs or anything like that,” Melinda Campos said. “If she did go to a party it was with a friend and that was very rare.” She said her daughter planned to graduate from Matthews Alternative High School in December and study to become a mechanic. Her daughter bought the Lincoln to fix it up, she said. “She was real excited about fixing it up and making it hers,” she said. Savannah Campos said her younger sister’s plans were influenced by relatives who were good with cars. “And that’s something she took an interest in,” Melinda Campos said. Family members have used fliers and social media to raise awareness about the 18-year-old. “Hopefully somebody will see her or remember that they saw her and give us any little bit of a clue,” Melinda Campos said. Zoe’s father, a Marine serving in Afghanistan, is making his way home to be with his family, she said. “He’s scared to death,” she said. She hopes her daughter will show up before then and the family is holding on to the hope that Zoe is safe. “Right now that’s all we have,” Savannah Campos said. “We’re just trying to hope and pray that she’s going to walk through that door or call and say, ‘Come get me.’ 
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Search continues for Zoe Gabrielle Campos
Campos was reported missing Nov. 19

By JENNIFER LOESCH
A-J MEDIA


Family and friends of missing Lubbock teen Zoe Gabrielle Campos, 18, gathered in parking lot near Avenue L and 70th Street to pass out fliers and hopefully generate solid leads about her whereabouts.
“It’s the most awful, awful dream,” said Zoe’s mom, Melinda. An advocate from the Center for Search and Investigations for Missing Children asked volunteers to form groups and pick areas of Lubbock to post fliers. The gathering spot was chosen for a reason advocate Nina Valdez couldn’t disclose. “I can’t say,” she said.

Campos doesn’t fit the center’s criteria for cases it normally works on, but they decided to volunteer their help to the family anyway. The center focuses most of its efforts on missing children between the ages of 11 and 16. Brenda Paradise, a state-licensed private investigator for the center, said one in three children are approached by a sex trafficker in the first 48 hours they’re missing. The center is a pending nonprofit, global organization staffed by volunteers who do everything from hand out fliers to surveillance. Some volunteers are law enforcement and some are not. “We start and target where the child went missing,” she said. Handing out fliers is vital because 85 to 90 percent of missing children are found because of fliers, she said. Her volunteers try to post new fliers regularly because if a flier looks old, people assume the person has probably been found. “That’s the most important thing — getting Zoe’s face out there,” said Melinda. Something that has frustrated the Campos family is certain people’s reluctance to contact police with information about Zoe’s Nov. 18 disappearance.

“I think there’s people out there and they’re just scared to talk,” Melinda said. “Because I get a lot of phone calls, and people will be like, ‘Well, I have warrants. I don’t want to deal with the police.’ That doesn’t matter.” Melinda said she doesn’t think Lubbock police or the FBI are concerned about warrants. She believes they are concerned about getting information and finding Zoe. Paradise said people are more than welcome to call her with information and they can remain anonymous. “I don’t arrest. I don’t prosecute,” she said. Any information given to Paradise and other volunteers will be shared with law enforcement, but she is more than willing to talk to people who are hesitant to speak with police. “Everything we do, we share with law enforcement officers,” Paradise said. Rachel Morales, Zoe’s aunt, has been handing out fliers for the past two weeks. She estimated about 2,000 fliers had been distributed before Sunday’s effort. Staples and Office Depot have master copies of the fliers, and people can donate money toward the copies at those businesses, she said. Morales was part of a group that posted fliers from Marsha Sharp Freeway to Avenue A and then 42nd Street to 52nd Street. Zoe was supposed to pick her mom up from work during the early morning hours of Nov. 18, and she would have traveled along that route.

“It’s like that little boy that went missing about a year ago. You see it — your heart goes out to them, but never in a million years do you think you’re going to go through this,” Morales said. “It’s probably the worst thing there is.” Morales was speaking about missing Lubbock teenager Mark Ysasaga, who was last seen June 14, 2012. Ysasaga is listed as a runaway on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Missing Person Clearinghouse website. Paradise said sometimes law enforcement and the public don’t get as concerned as they should about runaways. A child may run away from home, but the child might get into a situation they can’t get out of on their own. “That’s our goal here — to get people to change their opinions on runaways,” Paradise said. Zoe was reportedly last seen wearing pajamas, and Paradise doesn’t think she’s a runaway. She also said she doesn’t care what any missing kid’s personal history is. “This girl still has a family,” Paradise said. “I don’t care what her background is.”

At a news conference on Dec. 2, Lubbock police said Zoe’s past behavior may have played a role in her disappearance, but they have never elaborated on that statement. Private investigators, like police, don’t always reveal every tip or lead that they’re working, Paradise said. If the center receives information they don’t immediately relay it to family because they don’t want to burn their leads. “I don’t want to give away what we know,” she said. “We don’t want them running.” A family member saw Zoe’s silver 1997 Lincoln Town Car being driven by someone shortly after she disappeared, Paradise said. The unidentified person ditched the car at the Driftwood Apartments and ran before police arrived. Paradise thinks police might suspect foul play to be involved with Zoe’s disappearance, and that could explain why the FBI has been brought in. Between local police and the FBI, Paradise said Zoe’s case is in good hands. FBI spokeswoman Katie Chaumont said federal investigators have more resources than local police and they can also provide new perspectives on the case. “I just want to find this girl,” Paradise said.

jennifer.loesch@morris.com
Follow Jennifer on Twitter
@thescoop_78

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