We knew TikTok was powerful, but this video could be life altering.
Back in February 2003, a young girl named Sofia Lucerno Juarez was abducted from her hometown of Kennewick, Washington on the day before her fifth birthday. 18 years later, police have a new lead in the case thanks to a TikTok user who may have stumbled upon her during an interview in Culiacán, Sinaloa in Mexico. You can check out the video HERE.
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Kennewick Police Special Investigator Al Wehner explained the clip to People:
“He asked her whatever question he was posing to people and somehow the issues of birthdays came up, and she made mention to him she thought she was about 22 but she didn’t like birthdays because of a traumatic event that happened to her when she was young. She thinks that she had been kidnapped at an early age. She didn’t know if she was from the U.S. or Mexico. And she was hopeful that her family might be able to find her.”
The Mexican TikTok personality then “strayed from his regular TikTok ideas and put out a piece about, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do to reunite her with her family,’” Wehner continued. From there, commenters mentioned similarities in the woman’s appearance and story to Sofia’s. Meanwhile, others who saw the TikTok sent in tips to the website dedicated to gathering info on Sofia’s disappearance.
Wehner told the outlet that police were pursuing the lead in Mexico, but the woman, who was apparently homeless, wasn’t there when the TikTok personality returned to the same spot to look for her. Further, the TikToker allegedly received messages claiming “we are family members of hers and she is not Sofia and knock off the publicity you are generating about her.”
The investigator still hopes to locate her, but she also “has to be willing to provide the DNA sample” voluntarily to figure out if she truly is Sofia. He added:
“If you compare the features of her that are shown in the video to the photos of Sofia and age progression photos, there are some very obvious physical similarities. Our interest is obviously piqued by her comment about a traumatic event having occurred when she was young around the time of her birthday.”
Wehner suggested that renewed interest in the case might lead someone to “step forward” and reveal what they know about the abduction. Already, they have identified a new witness who saw someone “approaching a girl matching Sofia’s description and then leading her away while she cried.” They have also been contacted by someone who believes she attended a year of school with the woman in the video.
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“Sofia’s mother went to her grave not knowing what happened to her precious daughter. This was a very traumatic event for the community. A lot of people remember where they were and what they were doing when Sofia went missing.”
We hope the woman from the video is able to get answers — all the better if those answers also help Sofia’s remaining family. This situation really shows how TikTok can be a force for good in the world!
[Image via National Center For Missing and Exploited Children & Aká y Allá/TikTok]