It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from Eddie. His latest call, just before the end of March, is unexpected but follow-up on my part is probably overdue.
There’s no new information about Andy. Instead Eddie has called to give me report numbers.
Eddie’s wife has filed a missing persons report with NAMUS, a national missing persons database. After we talk, he forwards me the response from the Regional Systems Administrator. The response asks for more information on how Andy went missing as well as more records: a police report, a DNA sample from a blood relative, finger prints and dental records if available. The Administrator writes that a DNA kit can be sent to the law enforcement agency working with the family.
I know Eddie has already obtained dental records and the family is considering the DNA samples.
But the police report is even more complicated – it involves family politics and complicated dilemmas that reach back far past Andy’s disappearance.
Eddie has told me that Andy and his large extended family are spread between his original home in Sinaloa and the California coast. It also spans a range of legal statuses – and comfort levels when it comes to dealing with both criminal elements and law enforcement. There’s Eddie, a legal resident from the Middle East who has a brother in law enforcement. There’s also nieces and cousins married to members of the cartels.
When it comes to looking for Andy, everyone is uneasy with someone.
Eddie told me that he first spoke to law enforcement unofficially – and was advised that the family should file a missing persons report. Other family members resisted. The conversation was ongoing.
When Eddie and his wife drove south to look for Andy in person last September, he said he was still unsure if a report had actually been made. Arizona law enforcement told him to get one filed, and that a report filed in LA would be accessible to anyone who looked up Andy’s information if they found him, triggering a notification of the family.
Eddie said he would work on it when he got back home. Shortly he said a niece had finally agreed to do it.
But Eddie said he’s now learned that she never filed the report.
“She told the family she went to file, and they said they cannot file it because he’s illegal,” Eddie said.
But Eddie doesn’t believe that she actually tried to file the report, adding that there’s “no evidence that she went there or evidence that they even told her that.”
Eddie said he contacted the sheriff’s department and the only record they had of Andy was his old address.
“They said that regardless of being legal or illegal doesn’t matter,” Eddie said. “It’s a person who’s missing, it doesn’t matter who the person is, we have to report it.”
“So guess what? We went two nights ago and filed the report.”
Eddie emails me the report number, which I’m using to file a public records request.
There is an oft-repeated slogan for missing persons cases about the critical nature of the first 48 hours after someone disappears.
Andy has been missing since July.