Missing Teen Found Safe 13 Years Later

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Thirteen years ago, 14-year-old Jessica Delgadillo went to school in Amarillo, Texas, and never came home. Her distraught parents called the police, but when months went by with no sign of her and hopes faded, the case was transferred to homicide detectives. They drew a blank too. Now, years later, Jessica has turned up alive and well.

Jessica Delgadillo’s family reported her missing on October 20, 2010, after she failed to come home from school the day before. Her case stayed open, first as a missing persons then a suspected homicide, for a decade. No trace of the missing teen was ever found, and eventually, the investigation ended up in the cold case file.

Then, in 2023, the Amarillo Police Department (APD) formed a special Cold Case Unit, and among the cases it reopened were three missing teenagers; one of them was Jessica’s. The new team got in touch with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which sent two investigators to Amarillo to help. The officers reviewed the file and launched new social media appeals for information on Delgadillo, including photos artificially aged to show how she might look now.

On November 2, 2023, the APD homicide unit received a phone call from someone with a startling claim — the female caller said she was Jessica Delgadillo, and she was alive.

The caller said she knew she’d been reported missing and that the police were looking for her. At that time, she asked that they not reveal her new location or what had happened to her.

Investigators collected DNA swabs from the woman, who now lives on the East Coast, and compared them with the DNA of a close relative. Now the genetic analysis is complete, and it’s confirmed: Jessica Delgadillo is alive, and her family can finally move on from her disappearance.

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