FBI, LCSO, others search for missing Diana Alvarez

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The multi-agency search for missing 9-year-old Diana Alvarez, who vanished from her Lee County home May 29, continues.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has taken a lead role in the investigation of Alvarez’ disappearance, asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert four days after the Lee County girl went missing and keeping a tight grip on information released to the media, the public and the missing girl’s family who complained early on about LSCO’s lack of communication.

“I didn’t go to sleep last night, man,” Alvares’ stepfather, Uribe Jimenez said two days after his daughter’s disappearance. “I know that it is getting more dark, more dark. No answers, nothing.”

The department’s search around the Alvarez home was called off roughly 80 hours after it began when LCSO said there was no evidence suggesting she is still in the area.

“While they’ve been searching here. The person who has her is long gone,” Alvares’ mother, Rita Hernandez said three days after last seeing her daughter asleep in bed. ” It’s been three days and three nights and we don’t know anything. It’s not fair that the police still have not given us any answers. I don’t know what else to think. Are they still looking? Or have they stopped looking for her?”

Four days later the first and only known suspect would be detained. Jorge Guerrero was listed in Alvarez’ AMBER Alert and taken into custody in Okeechobee County on June 4. Guerrero was then transported to Lee County jail where he is facing child pornography charges; federal authorities are still trying to pin images found on his phone to Alvarez, though Guerrero maintains he was not in Lee County when she disappeared.

Despite his claims, LCSO said it considers Guerrero’s whereabouts critical to locating Alvarez.

“Anywhere Guerrero might have traveled here in Florida is of interest to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and we will travel and investigate where-ever the case leads,” Sgt. Matt McDaniel, a spokesperson for LSCO, said.

After heavy downpour blanketed much of the state, authorities continue to search in Osceola County and most recently Polk County off Highway 60 on Lake Kissimmee. However LSCO has declined to confirm if authorities are in fact looking for Alvarez.

The agencies who have been involved in the search now include the FBI, LSCO, FDLE, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County Port Authority and the Department of Homeland Security.

A $6,000 reward is being offered for information leading to missing Alvarez. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the 9-year-old or spots her, call 239-477-1000 or 911 immediately so authorities can dispatch a deputy to that location, the Lee County sheriff’s office said.

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