PROVO — Provo police and family members were ramping up efforts Thursday to find a missing woman, and her uncle fears she was taken against her will.
“I believe somebody took her by force,” Rudemberth Salgado said of his 26-year-old niece Elizabeth Elena Laguna Salgado.
Salgado said his niece isn’t the type of person to leave or lose contact with family, and she left important items behind.
“Her passport is in her apartment and all her stuff is in her apartment,” he said.
Salgado was last seen April 16 leaving the Nomen Global Language Center at 384 W. Center St. Her uncle said she texted him at 1:30 p.m. asking for a ride to Wal-Mart. That was the last known contact.
“She’s not that kind of a person,” the uncle said, noting that Elizabeth Salgado previously had communicated regularly with other relatives
The woman had only been in the area for about a month after returning from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico, her uncle said.
On Thursday, police were not committal on what happened to the woman.
“We have no indication that there’s foul play, but it’s uncommon. This is not her typical behavior,” Provo police senior officer Kreston Bascom said. “She’s not attending school; she’s not contacting her family. That’s why we’re concerned at this point.”
Police in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon detailed numerous steps they had taken since Salgado’s disappearance to turn up clues. They included three canvass searches and interviews with Salgado’s classmates, instructors, roommates and known sex offenders.
We have no indication that there's foul play, but it's uncommon. This is not her typical behavior. She's not attending school; she's not contacting her family. That's why we're concerned at this point.
–Kreston Bascom, Provo Police
Police had also combed through known surveillance video sources and had subpoenaed and obtained financial, cellphone, email and Facebook records.
“We’re asking for the public’s help,” Bascom said.
A volunteer search was planned Saturday at 9 a.m. beginning at the Covey Center located at 100 S. 450 W. in Provo.
Police said volunteers must produce a valid photo ID and must subject themselves to a background check.
Family members – some from as far away as California and Mexico – were planning to be in Utah Friday, according to the missing woman’s uncle.
Rudemberth Salgado said the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Ed Smart were planning to hold a joint news conference with the family Friday afternoon.
“I’m asking the whole community to help find my niece,” he said, then he turned his attention to his niece directly. “We are going to find you as soon as we can, and we love you.”