LITTLEROCK – Family and friends of missing 28-year-old Monique Figueroa believed her May 19 disappearance to be suspicious. And with their fears confirmed over the weekend with the discovery of her abandoned vehicle in Juniper Hills, members of the family and community held a prayer vigil Sunday evening for the Littlerock woman.
“What we want to do tonight is bring everybody together in prayer for safe guidance through the police department – that we may get the prayer of the Lord to them to find my daughter by pulling all their resources,” Jeff Figueroa, Monique’s father, said.
Jeff said his daughter’s vehicle was discovered Saturday night by local residents who reported it to authorities after spotting the car sitting off the road in Juniper Hills.
He believes that the circumstances relating to his daughter’s abandoned 2004 Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle points to foul play because of signs that “somebody ran her car off the road before it was dumped in a field – along with evidence of a struggle on the car,” he said.
Revealing a darker situation, Jeff expressed the need for the FBI to get involved in Monique’s case because he believes a dangerous gang is behind his daughter’s disappearance.
“This happens to be pertaining to multiple murder cases that my daughter happens to know about … because her ex-boyfriend is in jail right now for multiple murders,” he said, unwilling to identify the gang by name out of fear for the safety of his family.
“And this is a gang that is retaliating against her because they feel she might say something. And she already told me she isn’t going to say something, because she’s scared to death of these people.”
Jeff would only describe the gang as a notorious syndicate whose operations span from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, noting that “these guys are ruthless; they’re spread out, and all they do is kill people and [sell] drugs. They don’t mess around.”
The father said he has been frustrated with the Sheriff’s department’s slow reaction to Monique’s alleged abduction, but understands that “they just don’t have the resources to work over the weekends,” he said.
“They weren’t sure if she was sitting around the corner somewhere, getting high and just forgot to come home. And I explained the circumstances, saying my daughter is not that kind of girl.”
Jeff explained that his daughter’s two cellphones were off and their voice mail boxes were full immediately following her disappearance on May 19. Monique had not been in contact with her 3-year-old daughter, and “that was very unusual,” her father said.
“[It was] a week before the cops actually said, ‘okay, there’s something wrong,’” Johnnie Harris, Monique’s cousin, told The AV Times. “Obviously it’s not illegal for an adult to not call their family – even if it is weird. So we didn’t file a missing person’s report until Saturday night (May 23). And the police didn’t call me until that following Wednesday (May 27).”
But the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department appears to be stepping up its efforts to locate the missing woman following the recovery of her vehicle on Saturday. The Homicide Bureau released an advisory Monday seeking the public’s help to locate Monique, described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, with shoulder-length brown hair and hazel eyes.
Monique has been missing since May 19 at approximately 4 a.m.; she was last seen driving from her residence in the 7200 block of East Avenue U-12 in Littlerock, according to the sheriff’s advisory released Monday.
Anyone with information about her disappearance or possible abduction is asked to contact Detective Shonka or Detective Holston of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. View the advisory here.
More than 100 friends, family and parishioners attended the prayer vigil for Monique at the Littlerock Community Church Sunday evening.
“Everybody here is related to everyone else somehow and in some way, and we want closure for Monique,” said Danielle Sharp, who grew up with Monique over the last 20 years in Littlerock.
K.C. Wahe, a “pastor friend” to the Littlerock Community Church, opened the prayer vigil with a plea for comfort and understanding.
“When parents shed tears about their children, I believe with all my heart that God hears those prayers of lament, and all of us can agree that when our kids hurt and go through difficulties that we as a parent shed tears,” Wahe told those attending the vigil.
Jeff is asking anyone who may have information on his daughter’s disappearance to call him at 661-944-7805.
“I am really impressed with the help and response we have been getting for Monique,” he said. “I want to thank everyone out there for getting involved.”