When Karla Rodriguez vanished from her Las Vegas neighborhood in 1999, investigators called her a “victim waiting to happen.” Not only was she a vulnerable 7-year-old with a medical condition who spoke limited English, but Karla’s parents often left her unsupervised, to fend for herself.

On October 20, at 3 pm, Karla’s father, Ramon, returned home from work to discover that Karla and her bicycle were gone. At a time when parents let their children walk to school and roam the neighborhood alone, Ramon wasn’t concerned. He assumed Karla had gone to see a friend after school.

Ramon dropped his wife, Elia, off at work for an evening shift and it wasn’t until 10 pm that he knocked on a neighbor’s door, looking for Karla.

The neighbor told Ramon that Karla came by at 7 pm, and asked to play with her son. Since it was late, she refused and told Karla to go home. After playing in the driveway alone for 15 minutes, Karla took off on her bicycle.

Assuming Karla was spending the night with another friend, her parents went to bed and waited for her to return home. The next morning, Elia went to John S. Park Elementary looking for Karla, only to discover she had never made it to school, and that she had been missing for 12 hours.

Despite this revelation, it was Karla’s school principal that called the police and reported her missing, resulting in a massive search that involved cadaver dogs, helicopters, and even the FBI. Elia originally said she walked Karla halfway to school that morning — but that turned out to be false.

Bloodhounds tracked Karla’s scent to an apartment complex 1/2 mile from her home but there was no evidence to prove that she was there.

Over the years, investigators ruled out hundreds of leads from a brother-in-law to whom Karla’s family owed money, to an 11-year-old classmate who said she saw Karla get into a car driven by a Hispanic man the morning of her disappearance. In 2019, the woman recalled that the car had maroon seats and a Virgin Mary air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.

Karla’s parents never left their Las Vegas home, hoping that one day, she would return. In a 2019 press conference, they stressed the importance of not leaving children unsupervised. Both passed polygraph tests and have not been named suspects. Investigators believe a stranger abducted Karla.

Karla was last seen wearing a black jacket, a blue and white striped t-shirt, and red pants. Her nails were painted green. She turns 30 years old on September 29, 2022.

If you have any information, contact Las Vegas FBI at 702-385-1281 or submit an anonymous tip online. There is a $5,000 reward available.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *