Missing Girl, 11, Calls Parents From Mexico
Parents of a missing 11-year-old girl on Monday got the telephone call they were hoping for.
Monica Flores, who was reportedly abducted by a family friend, called her parents collect from Mexico at 11:30 a.m. to say that she was safe and on her way home, police and parents said. She told them she did not know where she was in Mexico, they said.
Monica told her mother, Rosario Ortega, that she was alone and needed her parents to raise $300 to pay someone to take her back to Garden Grove, Ortega said. Her daughter sounded scared on the telephone, she said.
“She said she was coming home, but she did not say when she was coming,” said Ortega, 30. “She also did not say who was bringing her.”
According to police, Monica was abducted at 2:30 p.m. Friday while walking home with classmates from Cook Elementary School on Woodbury Avenue. Police said the sixth-grade student was reportedly taken by Valentin Gonzalez, 22, who lived with Monica’s family as a boarder for two years before moving out last week.
On Saturday, the family got a telephone call from Gonzalez’s sister, Ortega said. According to Ortega, the woman, who also lives in Garden Grove, said Gonzalez had called her from Tijuana and said he had taken the girl there.
Ortega said that Gonzalez apparently had given several letters to Monica telling her that he was in love with her and that he was going to take her to Mexico.
Monica’s stepfather, Pedro Gonzalez, who is not related to Valentin Gonzalez, said he found the letters about two or three months ago. “She had come home from school and left her books on the table” that day, Pedro Gonzalez said.
“Like a typical parent, I was curious about what she was reading and leafed through them. I found two or three letters and read them.”
The letters were written in Spanish and addressed to Monica, her stepfather said. Monica barely reads Spanish because she only completed two years of school in Mexico before coming to California, he said.
After Pedro Gonzalez found the letters, he said, Ortega confronted Valentin Gonzalez about them. The young man replied that he wrote Monica’s name on them on a whim, and that they were not meant for her, Pedro Gonzalez said.
Monica began to cry when her parents asked her about the letters, Ortega said, and she denied that she was involved with Valentin Gonzalez.
Her parents said they are unsure about the relationship between their daughter and their former boarder. They said they were busy Monday trying to raise money from friends to bring their daughter home.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Ortega said. “I expect the worst. I don’t know what happened to her. . . . I don’t know if she’s been abandoned, we can’t do anything because we don’t know where she is, and I don’t know who we’re supposed to give the money to.”