CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Amid a resumed active search Thursday for evidence in a cold-case investigation, law enforcement officials renewed their call for tips that could lead them to whoever killed a South Bay ninth-grader 14 years ago.
Gabriela "Gaby" Gonzalez of Chula Vista disappeared on April 5, 2002. The 14-year-old's body was never found.
Assisted by FBI agents, police detectives searched riverbed areas in Otay Valley Regional Park this morning and had brush cleared out of the densely overgrown area so a specialized team could access all areas that could contain evidence pertaining to the investigation.
Authorities also fanned out through surrounding neighborhoods to distribute fliers in hopes that someone with information pertinent to the case will come forward.
"Anything (of evidentiary value) that anybody has, we're going to use it to get Gaby back," FBI spokeswoman Davene Butler told reporters.
Investigators recently developed leads that provide "new potential" that the victim's body will be found and her killer or killers identified, according to a Chula Vista police statement. Officials have declined to elaborate on those developments.
On the day the teen disappeared, she apparently went to the home of her 19-year-old boyfriend instead of Montgomery High School, where she was a freshman, according to detectives. Police initially considered her a likely runaway, but eventually came to believe she had been slain.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or contact the agency online at sdcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.