FORT MYERS, Fla.- The vehicle at the center of a Florida Amber Alert for Diana Alvares was found about three hours after it was issued Thursday afternoon, but the 9-year-old remains missing.
“At the moment we are not commenting on where the recovery took place as efforts are still underway,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “A large gathering of media would give away law enforcement’s presence in the area diligently trying to discover where Diana and Guerrero are. It is possible that they remain on the move and so a broad area would continue to need diligence from many eyes of the public and not a specific area of narrow focus.”
Alvares may be in the company of 28-year-old Jorge Guerrero, who authorities say has ties to Orange and Okeechobee counties. Investigators believe the pair were in a tan Chevrolet Malibu, Florida tag 78NHD.
Guerrero is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing approximately 145 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Family members say Alvares was very attached to Guerrero, who at one time rented a room in their home at the Sheltering Pines Mobile Home Village.
Alvares was last seen early Sunday morning at her home on the 3500 block of Unique Circle near the San Carlos Park area of Lee County.
Alvares’ mother, Rita Hernandez, said she was uncomfortable with the relationship between Guerrero and her daughter.
“He’d say things like ‘The girl’s gotten really cute’ or beautiful and that she’s so big,” Hernandez said. “To me, that’s not something a grown man can say about a 9-year-old girl.”
Hernandez said she confronted the man and he moved out on May 2. The 9-year-old was visibly upset when Guerrero returned to the home to move his van, according to Hernandez.
“Diana noticed that the van wasn’t here. So she comes to me and says ‘Mom, did Jorge come to take his van?’ I said yes. Then she starts to cry. She then says ‘But why didn’t Jorge wait for me?’” Hernandez said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday they believed there was no evidence to suggest Alvares was still in the area and it was actively pursuing a number of leads.
The sheriff’s office requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to issue an Amber Alert for Alvares’ disappearance on Thursday, an FDLE spokesperson said.
WINK News spoke with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Facebook about cases involving missing children: