Balmorhea, TEXAS (ABC Big 2 News) – When Juan got the call that his little sister Monica couldn’t be found, he remembered their phone conversation the night before.
“My thought was that she’s trying to get to Austin to come to me, you know,” says Monica Carrasco’s brother Juan.
So he stayed put, waiting for her to possibly be in the area. Mother Kathy Carrasco thought maybe she was in medical distress.
“I thought she went jogging that morning, and I thought maybe she had collapsed somewhere because she wasn’t eating,” says Monica Carrasco’s mother Kathy.
As law enforcement searched the area, Monica’s mother says she wanted to help.
“I tried to go walking looking for her and they told me I could not, I had to stay in the house because they didn’t want any kind of disturbance, anybody out there except the officers looking,” says Kathy.
But Monica’s Uncle Abel was the Justice of the Peace at the time.
“He was able to gather a lot of resources to come and assist in searching for Monica,” says Juan.
While there was a big effort to find the teen with multiple agencies pulling together, they tell us they think the house Monica stayed at was not properly searched or preserved.
“I felt like they did the best they could with the resources- with the resources they had. They even had airplanes that could detect heat. Because I was wondering how they were doing their searching, but they said they had planes that could fly over areas and could detect heat, and if they had seen, could locate her quickly,” says Kathy.
“They just thought she wondered off, or someone got her or something, and they didn’t consider it a crime scene in any way, shape, or form,” says Juan.
There are also questions about the validity of the search. Juan says his uncle worked for the water district and knew the area.
“I wasn’t there to witness this, but this is stuff that gets back to you. And apparently because he knew the area so well, he was leading a lot of the searches, right? But later on during the investigation it turns out that he was a potential suspect, if there was something that had occurred. They were questioning his involvement with everything,” says Juan.
CAITLIN LANDERS: (16:28–cover with back asking on interivew )
” Do you think her uncle could have been involved?”
“It really is hard to believe that a family member could do anything. That didn’t occur in my mind at all in the beginning, and now that he’s passed away I still don’t feel like he could have done anything,” says Kathy.
Abel died in in September, and now there are some questions that may never get an answer. Not knowing has been tough, but Kathy says she holds onto hope that her daughter is alive.
“I just pray that she’s out there somewhere and she’s okay,” sayys Kathy.
The family is asking for anybody with information to come forward, so that no matter the circumstances, they can at least find some peace.
We reached out to the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office multiple times over the past few months but have not been able to ask about Monica’s disappearance.