Without a trace: the story of Monica Carrasco, part 1

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“It’s been way too long and we have not forgotten her, and we pray for her every single day,” says Monica Carrasco’s mother Kathy.

Monica Carrasco was born in 1986 here in West Texas,and loved by many.

“She always had a smile on her face. She was always happy, just a happy baby. She had lots of friends. She was very studious, she always carried her dictionary in her bag,” says Kathy.

She was raised in Balmorhea, and according to her big brother Juan, had a bright future ahead.

“She was just very outgoing, very outspoken ,and very adventurous. You know. She had a dream, she wanted to do something big, she wanted to go to Harvard,” says Monica’s brother Juan.

Monica planned to be a lawyer, or work for NASA. She was known to be very religious, and would constantly read the Bible.

“I brought her a new bible, I’d say maybe like a week before she disappeared,” says Kathy.

Tragedy hit the Carrasco family, when Monica’s father had a heart attack in front of her. Juan Carrasco says family members tried to help while they waited for paramedics.

“For anybody who has actually seen CPR being given correctly, it’s pretty traumatic, bones breaking and that type of stuff. So all the while, you know Monica’s right there, watching all of this occurring. And then, it’s not like nowadays where you call 911 and the ambulance is there 5 minutes later, it was like 20 minutes later when the ambulance got there,” says Juan.

Juan believes his sister may have developed some PTSD from what happened to her dad, a man she adored.

“She was not depressed until that year she disappeared, she was not suffering depression until the year she disappeared. She coped the best she could, she wasn’t suffering with depression because of her dad, it happened right before she disappeared,” says Kathy.

A family member who was similar to her her dad was her tia.

“My aunt was the female version of my father. We’re all very close to my aunt and uncle as well,” says Juan.

Aunt and Uncle Velma and Abel Baeza lived just outside Balmorhea with their family. They became part of a plan to get Monica the help she needed.

My aunt had offered…..She was like, ‘hey I’m a stay at home mom’, right? I have twins, two cousins who are about her age….She was like, ‘she can stay here, mijo. I can watch over here, I can make sure she’s eating.’ And when I was visiting I could see that connection,” says Juan.

Monica developed anorexia, and her mom got her medical care.

“It was just like a normal mother/daughter relationship. We had our ups and down but mainly it was really good until she had an eating disorder. I had to take her to get treated for that,” says Kathy.

She says Monica wasn’t happy about it.

“She was seeing a psychiatrist, the doctor prescribed medication and put her on a diet, you know high protein, she had trouble, she didn’t want to eat. She was staying with her aunt, her aunt was really trying to get her to eat,” says Kathy.

It was decided Monica would temporarily stay with her aunt and uncle.

“I was trying to find a facility that specialized in eating disorders, she wasn’t going to stay there permanently. I’m the mother, it was my decision so I had to look around until I found a place,” says Kathy.

Kathy says it was difficult to find a place that would take Monica because she was under 18—so it took some time. Meanwhile, the family did what they could to help.

“Trying to monitor what she’s eating, her nutrition, that kind of stuff, she got to the point where she was hypoglycemic, So if you have a very, very low blood sugar, that creates issues in and off itself,” says Juan.

Hypoglycemia can cause confusion and anxiety, among other symptoms. These health issues were addressed while she lived with her aunt and uncle, which is the last place she was seen.

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