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Valley family pleads for help after teen with autism reported missing

Posted at 4:10 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 01:14:25-04

GLENDALE, AZ — A Glendale family is desperately searching for answers after a teen with autism was reported missing.

Friday was Alicia Navarro's 15th birthday, but she wasn't at her own party.

In a video posted on social media, Alicia's mom, Jessica Nunez, tearfully sings in front of a cake and gives the pieces to members of Alicia's search party.

"When she comes back, because I have faith she's going to come back, she will see how much she was missed," Nunez said.

Nunez has spent the week handing out flyers throughout the community.

She says her daughter relies on medication and the help of her family. "She doesn't know how to be by herself," Nunez said. "She doesn't know how to take a bus."

But Nunez says when she woke up on September 15, Alicia was nowhere to be found. She says Alicia left behind a note that read, "I ran away, I will be back. I'm sorry."

Nunez says the two never had a fight and Alicia never mentioned she was unhappy. "It's just out of character for her," Nunez said.

She says she believes someone Alicia met, possibly online, coaxed her into leaving her home.

"I'm trying to get it together, but I just need help," Nunez said. "If she's out there wandering, please call the police."

As police continue to investigate, Nunez has this message for her daughter: "You told me you were going to come back. I'm waiting. Please don't be scared," Nunez said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says Alicia was last seen on foot near 45th Avenue and Rose Lane. A Silver Alert was activated Monday. Police say the FBI is adding technical assistance and advice to Glendale police detectives.

Alicia is 4 feet, 5 inches tall, 95 pounds and has braces.

If you have any information, call Glendale Police at 623-930-3000 or call the Center for Search and Investigations at 512-887-3519.