After being reported missing since Sunday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has gone ahead and issued an Amber Alert for a missing 9-year-old girl from Fort Myers by the name of Diana Alvarez. The original Amber alert also included a description of the vehicle the suspected kidnapper was driving, but News–Press reported that the car has since been found abandoned.
The Amber alert for the missing 9-year-old girl states that Diana Alvarez was last seen in the 3500 block of Unique Circle in Fort Myers, wearing a short-sleeve shirt and blue shorts, shoes, and is possibly carrying a green blanket with a flower print with her. The little girl is of Hispanic heritage with dark hair and brown eyes. Diana Alvarez stands at 4-foot 4-inches, weighs 95 pounds, and has two scars on one of her legs.
Alvarez is believed to be with 28-year-old Jorge Guerrero, who had been driving a tan Chevrolet Malibu, Florida license plate #78NHD. Guerrero has been described as a white looking Hispanic male with black hair and brown eyes who is 5-foot 5-inches tall and weighs 145 pounds. The man is said to have ties to the Orange County and Okeechobee County areas.
UPDATE: LCSO: Vehicle located from AMBER alert for 9-year-old Diana Alvarez, Alvarez still missing. https://t.co/tFY0jgdl8C— Naples Daily News (@ndn) June 2, 2016
The information that the vehicle belonging to Jorge Guerrero was found abandoned was not confirmed by neither Lee County Sheriff’s Office nor the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but the Amber Alert issued for the girl did reflect that this is so. However, no other information, such as where it was found, the condition it was in or if it was occupied was given at the time; the child is still missing.
Despite the fact that Diana has not been seen since Sunday, it was only today that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office gave the green light for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to issue the Amber Alert as the investigators on the case were just satisfied that the information they possessed qualified the girl for the status. Gretl Plessinger, a spokesman for the FDLE, advised that it is actually quite common for a missing child alert to be sent out initially before later being upgraded to an Amber Alert.
“The difference in an Amber Albert is the possibility of abduction.”
The department had to ensure that the disappearance of Diana Alvarez satisfied state requirements. The LCSO issued a press release shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday explaining the issues.
“Earlier today the Major Crimes Unit of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office efforts in the around-the-clock investigation of Diana Alvarez’ disappearance, led to a Florida AMBER Alert being issued through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”
According to Cape Coral Breeze, the authorities just increased the reward for information leading to the location of the child. The Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations have combined to put forward a $6,000 reward for information concerning Alvarez. Crime Stoppers has offered $1,000, and the additional $5,000 is being provided by the FBI. Authorities say that over 200 persons are currently out looking for the child.
Uribe Jimenez, the boyfriend of Diana’s mother Rita Hernandez, said that Jorge Guerrero had actually been renting a room from the family at their Sheltering Pines mobile home for a while but was asked to leave a month ago. Jimenez said they noticed that Diana was constantly following Jorge Guerrero around, and they seemed to have formed an odd bond.
Diana’s mother and her boyfriend are both firm in their belief that despite everything, the Amber Alert victim is still alive. She feels that Diana’s father, who was deported to Mexico, got someone to take the little girl across with fake documents as he had not been pleased to lose custody of Diana. Hernandez says he messaged her on Thursday, asking about his son but not his daughter, on a cell number she had not given him.
Officials are asking anyone with information on Diana Alvares or Jorge Guerrero’s whereabouts to reach out to the nearest law enforcement agency, call 911 or contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000.
[Images via Florida Department of Law Enforcement]