Kaya Centeno, who would now be 18, was last seen as a second grader and allegedly withdrew to be homeschooled

By Jeff Truesdell
September 14, 2020 01:52 PM
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California authorities are searching for a teen girl missing for eight to 10 years, after they learned of her disappearance while investigating allegations of child abuse by her adoptive parents.

Kaya Centeno's siblings -- a brother, now 15, and sister, now 17 -- told police that Kaya, who would have turned 18 on May 23, went missing from the family's Rohnert Park home between 2010 and 2012, coinciding with the start of alleged ongoing emotional, sexual and physical abuse inflicted on the children by the parents, Gina and Jose Centeno, who had adopted all three children in 2008, police said in a news release.

Police allege they found evidence to corroborate the abuse claims and arrested Gina, 50, and Jose Centeno, 53, on August 19 for aggravated kidnapping, citing the parents' move with the children to Mexico about 18 months earlier.

Sonoma County jail records reviewed by PEOPLE show the couple has since been booked on numerous charges, including nine felony charges against Jose alleging sexual abuse of the 17-year-old girl, who is identified as Jane Doe No. 1 in a 14-count complaint filed Aug. 20 in Sonoma County Superior Court, reports the Press Democrat.

The couple is being held without bond, according to jail records. It was not immediately clear if they'd entered pleas or retained attorneys to speak on their behalf.

Kaya Centeno at age 7 (left) and how she might appear today at age 18 in a digitally enhanced image
Rohnert Park Police Department

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Rohnert Park detectives received a tip July 24 about the alleged abuse in their city by Child Protective Services workers, who had been in contact with authorities in Mexico, where the 15- and 17-year-old had been placed in protective custody after alleging abuse by the parents.

Detectives and the FBI worked with CPS and the U.S. Embassy to bring the children to Sonoma County, where during an interview they mentioned their older sister, Kaya, who they said had lived with them in Rohnert Park.

"The children said Kaya went missing from their Rohnert Park home approximately eight to 10 years ago and she has not been heard from or seen since," according to police.

At the time, Kaya had been enrolled in second grade at the John Reed School in Rohnert Park for the 2010-2011 school year but was withdrawn, allegedly to be homeschooled, police said.

Kaya, then known as Kaya Marie Centeno, may also be known as Kaya Whitney Kazzee, according to police, who say the missing-person's investigation is ongoing. No one has been charged in her disappearance.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety at 707-584-2612, or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).