Authorities are investigating whether a woman featured in a viral TikTok video is the same person who was kidnapped in Washington State 18 years ago, and a mystery van could possibly hold the answer.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, on the evening of February 4, 2003, Sofia Juarez was abducted in Kennewick, Washington, while out walking. She was 4 years old, and just one day shy of her fifth birthday.
The case had gone cold for years, but last month, a video posted to TikTok renewed attention to the kidnapping. The clip shows a woman being interviewed in northwest Mexico who says she is 22 years old and had been kidnapped.
The woman says she doesn’t know where she is from and that if any family members are watching, they should come to get her. Police in Washington have talked with the person who produced the video and he has gone back to Culiacan, Sinaloa, in an effort to locate the woman.
@akayallaTiene muchos años sin ver a su familia😳 @ozzbala ##culiacan ##sinaloa ##viral ##preguntas ##culturageneral♬ sonido original – Aká y Allá
“This is one of those cases that everybody in our community knows exactly what they were doing when she went missing,” Kennewick Police Lt. Aaron Clem told NBC News. “The ultimate goal is to get her identified and have her voluntarily give us a DNA sample.
“There is enough there that we need to do our due diligence.”
Police in Kennewick launched a website last month about the case and have since received about 100 tips.
Investigators have spoken with a witness they consider to be “highly credible” who may have observed the kidnapping, according to NBC News. That witness has said they saw a girl who looked similar to Juarez crying and being taken by someone. The witness also said they had seen a light blue or gray van parked in the area where the girl was abducted.
According to KXLY, the vehicle was a “full-sized panel van with no side windows.” It’s described as the type of van typically used for construction workers, painters, or contractors. It appeared to be manufactured in the 1970s or 1980s, police said.
Anyone who saw the van area of S. Washington Street and E. 15th Avenue on February 4, 2003, is asked to contact authorities. Likewise, investigators are looking to speak with anyone who has a similar van and was in the area at the time.
Some people who claim to be related to the woman in the video and have said she is not Juarez, CNN reports. But Kennewick Police Special Investigator Al Wehner told the news channel that when investigators sought to follow up with these individuals, they could not be found.
Jaurez’s mother died in 2009, but other family members remain in touch with the police.
Kennewick is about 200 miles southeast of Seattle.
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[Featured image: Sofia Juarez/Kennewick County Police Department]