Sofia Juarez disappeared on Feb. 4, 2003, the day before her 5th birthday

By Christine Pelisek
Updated June 14, 2021 09:04 PM
sofia juarez
Credit: Kennewick Police Department

The young woman in Culiacán, Mexico, said she was 22 and didn't like birthdays.

"The truth is, I don't like having birthdays," she said in Spanish in the clip filmed in March, which was part of an interview with a social media personality in Mexico.

She then told the man interviewing her that she wanted her family to come for her.

"I want to tell them to come for me because I'm here, kidnapped," she said.

The video quickly went viral on TikTok and tipsters reached out to the Kennewick Police Department in Washington State. They believed the young woman could be Sofia Juarez, a 4-year-old girl who vanished without a trace from her home on Feb. 4, 2003, one day before her 5th birthday.

She was the subject of Washington State's first Amber Alert.

Since April, police have received dozens of tips and are now attempting to make contact with the woman in the video. They hope to do a DNA test to determine if she's Sofia.

"We need to try to pursue it to its reasonable conclusion to find out whether that's Sofia or not," Special Investigator Al Wehner tells PEOPLE. (The case will be featured on Monday night's episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show). An exclusive clip is shown below.)

Police have been in contact with the woman's alleged family, who have disputed she is the missing Sofia.

For more on the missing persons case of Sofia Juarez, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up the current issue, on newsstands now.

Meanwhile, the Kennewick Police Department released a description of a possible suspect, a Hispanic boy between the ages of 11 and 14 who allegedly approached a girl matching Sofia's description on the night she vanished while walking along the sidewalk on South Washington Street near East 15th Avenue.

Sofia Juarez
Age progression photograph of Sofia at age 23
| Credit: Kennewick Police Department

For more on the disappearance of Sofia Juarez, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

A witness described the boy as being about 5 feet tall with dark, short wavy hair and a baby face. On the night Sofia vanished, at some point between 8 and 9:15 p.m., the boy allegedly ushered her toward a light blue or silver/gray older 1970's to early 1980's full-sized panel van with no windows, which was stopped on a nearby street.

The suspect, who was also described as having big hands for his age, was laughing as Sofia cried, the witness said.

"It is our belief the van and the juvenile male may be associated with one another," says Wehner in this week's issue of PEOPLE.

Sofia Juarez
age progression picture of Sofia at age 15 in 2013
| Credit: Kennewick Police Department

Wehner says Sofia's case has never been forgotten. He hopes to one day to find answers for her family.

"Somebody out there knows something," he says. "Allegiances once owed to people have changed over the years. Now is the time to step forward. "

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If you have any information on this case, contact Special Investigator Al Wehner at 509-582-1331 or Kennewick Emergency Dispatch at 509-628-0333, or leave a tip on the Kennewick Police Department's page dedicated to Sofia's case.

* With reporting by HENRY MOSQUERA

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