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Search efforts for missing Phoenix woman continue

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 00:41:46-05

AVONDALE, AZ — Search efforts for 37-year-old Irene Luevano continued Wednesday in the West Valley. Dozens of community members turned out to search along the Gila River near El Mirage Road.

They had two searches in the same area within 24 hours, to make sure everything was looked through.

"Pretty much in the bushes, whatever we could see," said JR Villa, who was part of search efforts.

The group searched by car, foot and off-road vehicles, looking for any sign of Luevano.

Villa was joined by his son Adalberto, who took video of the the car that Irene was last seen in.

“It had nothing but dirt on the side of it, sure enough, it was the car,” Adalberto Villa said of what he saw when he came up to the car.

Adalberto told us it was a gut feeling in finding it and, he felt compelled to continue helping in the family's efforts.

"If I was in the family's situation, I would kind of hope for other people to help look. To be in their situation, no one can really tell how it feels right now," said Villa.

Luevano has been missing for nearly four days, and her family says their efforts will continue for one big reason.

"That I know my sister is alive; I know she's alive. She's out there; she's just waiting for us to get her," Victoria Luevano said.

Irene's family says they got a call from her over the weekend, saying she'd been stabbed by her boyfriend. That's the last they heard from her. Her boyfriend, Jorge Lara, was later arrested in an unrelated forgery case.

“We're still going to be searching til, 'til we find my sister… until she comes home to her kids and her family,” said Luevano.

If you would like to join the search efforts, the family will be meeting at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Thursday at 107th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Rd., near the Filiberto's.