Arizona teen Alicia Navarro – who went missing at just 14 years old — has been found safe four years after she mysteriously disappeared leaving her suburban Phoenix home in 2019. She was discovered in Montana, and there are unanswered questions about why she vanished.
When Did Alicia Navarro Disappear?
Alicia, who was described as having high-functioning autism, was last seen at her home in Glendale, Arizona, leaving the house in the early morning hours of September 15, 2019. At the time, she was 14 years old and just five days away from her 15th birthday. She left a note assuring her parents she would return, but they never saw Alicia again.
Private investigator Trent Steele — president of the Anti-Predator Project — dedicated himself to Alicia’s case and poured more than 50 hours a week into finding the missing teen. “We’ve had tips come all the way from Los Angeles to New York with alleged sightings, even out here in Florida where I’m at,” he said back in 2022. “None of them have panned out.”
Where Was Alicia Navarro Found?
Alicia was found living in a small Montana town close to the U.S.-Canadian border, Glendale Police revealed in a July 26, 2023, news conference. She is now 18 years old.
“She is by all accounts safe, she is by all accounts healthy, and she is by all accounts happy. She went to a local police department in that area, she identified herself as Alicia Navarro, and at that point our officers went into investigation mode,” Glendale Police spokesperson Jose Santiago told reporters. He said their department provided videos and a photo to the Montana town’s police to help confirm it was Alicia.
“We are happy, and at the same time, we are hopeful we will be able to supply this family with a little more closure,” he continued, adding Alicia had asked for privacy at this time. She has been reunited with her mom Jessica Nunez, in Montana, after her mother had spent years searching tirelessly for her daughter.
Taking to Facebook in an emotional post, Jessica reflected on the shocking news regarding her daughter. “I do feel that I owe this video to the community and to God. First of all, I want to give glory to God for answering prayers and for this miracle. For everyone who has missing loved ones, I want you to use this case as an example. Miracles do exist,” she said. “Never lose hope and always fight. My daughter Alicia Navarro was missing since September 15, 2019. She has been found safe.”
Alicia’s mom added that she does not know details about her daughter’s disappearance at this time, only finding out about her status an hour before the news broke on social media. “The important thing is that she’s alive,” Jessica concluded her post.
How Long Did the Police and Family Search for Alicia?
Alicia’s mother never gave up hope on finding her daughter, but was grief stricken with every passing anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance. Jessica believed her daughter was lured by an online predator and began working with the nonprofit Project 25, which works to find missing children believed to be sex trafficking victims.
The third year anniversary hit Jessica extremely hard, Project 25 executive director Kathleen Winn told ABC15 News in 2022. “She was really hoping that before we got to this anniversary that her daughter would be returned to her,” Winn explained to the news outlet, adding that it was too painful for Jessica to personally speak about Alicia.
“That not knowing is the most difficult trauma that a family can have,” Winn continued. At the time, missing person flyers featuring Alicia were still posted around Glendale. Police had received thousands of tips and there was a $20,000 reward offered for information leading to finding the teen.
Alicia’s disappearance was featured in a December 2019 episode of A&E’s Live PD, where Glendale Police Lt. Jay O’Neill appeared to help spread awareness about the search for the teen and ask for any leads in her case.
What Happened to Alicia Navarro Before She Was Found?
One neighbor named Garrett Smith said in an interview published on July 29 that he heard Alicia yelling at a man from inside their apartment complex in Havre just days before she arrived at the police station.
“I was here the other day and I heard them yelling. She did say, ‘I will go back.’ But that’s all I heard,” Garrett recalled. “It was the day before she turned herself in.”
Garrett explained that he spoke to Alicia for the first time just days before she was found and said she claimed she was “looking for her uncle” near a post office. “She was asking for directions. She looked scared,” he recalled, adding that she was not familiar with the area.
“She said she was walking with her uncle and got lost and she’s looking for 6th Street,” Garrett continued. “I later found out that she was referring to him as her uncle.”
Even before he spoke to Alicia, Garret said that he had seen her around the area with the unidentified man several times. “I would see both of them walking out. Quite often,” he said. “I think I saw them holding hands once when they were leaving.”
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