Family of missing girl ‘heartbroken’ as search nears one month

Rick Salinas, father of Adrienne Salinas, holds up a picture of his daughter who went missing over three weeks ago. So far the people of Tempe have raised over 8,000 for a reward if anybody finds her. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Rick Salinas, father of Adrienne Salinas, holds up a picture of his daughter who went missing over three weeks ago. So far the people of Tempe have raised over 8,000 for a reward if anybody finds her. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

She is a beloved friend, girlfriend, sister and daughter, yet her friends, boyfriend, brother and father have not seen or spoken to her in nearly a month.

Adrienne Salinas was last seen early morning on Saturday, June 15, after she and her boyfriend, Francisco Arteaga, got into an argument during a party at Adrienne’s apartment near West Fifth Street and South Hardy Drive.

Arteaga said he suggested the two leave the party so they could go back to his apartment to discuss their argument.

“The argument kept on going, and she told me she didn’t want to sleep at my apartment,” he said. “So I ended up taking her back to her place, and that is the last time I ever saw her.”

The mysterious disappearance of Salinas, a 19-year-old aspiring journalist and student at Gateway Community College, is baffling the Tempe Police and the FBI, who have been canvassing her neighborhood with more than 100 officers to no avail.

Meanwhile, her friends and family have been handing out fliers, raising money for an award and rigorously praying for her return.

Arteaga said he and Adrienne began dating shortly after they met in eighth grade and, though they have been on and off since they graduated high school, he has never gone more than a week without seeing her.

“It will be a month this Saturday,” he said, “and all I can do is spread the word and hope someone will come forward. She has always been my best friend, and she is the only girl I ever loved.”

Rick Salinas, Adrienne’s father, said Adrienne is an intelligent, responsible and motivated young woman who loves watching movies and reading.

Before her disappearance, Adrienne had been recovering from two major surgeries after having valley fever.

“She is like a little flower, very feminine and frail,” Rick said. “She is my baby, and she doesn’t deserve this. She is a good, good girl.”

He said Adrienne and her younger brother were “inseparable.”

Rick said he knew something wasn’t right after he didn’t hear from his daughter for several days leading up to Father’s Day.

“Sometimes we go a day or two without talking, but after a day or two I always call her to ask her, ‘Mija, how have you been,’” he said.

Rick said he tried calling Adrienne on Saturday, June 15, and began to “get a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach” by Sunday, June 16, which was Father’s Day.

“We planned to spend the day together, because we always spend Father’s Day together,” he said.

Rick said he went to Adrienne’s apartment and found her dog, Mocha, which she was always, with but there was no sign of Adrienne.

He said by 2:30 p.m., he had spoken with Adrienne’s roommates and boyfriend, but no one had heard from her or seen her since early Saturday morning, so he made a missing persons call to Tempe Police.

Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Pooley said detectives are working around the clock trying to find leads and give the family some information or closure regarding Adrienne’s whereabouts.

“Unfortunately, this is a very unique case in which we have very, very limited information, no witnesses and no suspects,” he said. “Usually we have some indication about what happened from somebody, but we don’t in this case, and it’s really trying and frustrating for our detectives.”

Pooley said Tempe Police received a call at approximately 3:45 a.m. on June 15 reporting that a car had crashed into the median near Ash Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, popping both tires.

The caller reported that the car was leaving the scene, and by the time police arrived, it was nowhere to be found, Pooley said.

Rick said he and Arteaga found Adrienne’s car later that day near Roosevelt and Brown streets.

“When we saw her car and saw both tires flat, we both just broke down,” he said. “We lost it a little bit, and we realized that she really was missing.”

Adrienne called Arteaga 11 times around 4:10 a.m. and texted him around 4:43 a.m. telling him that she was coming to his apartment, Pooley said.

Adrienne then called a taxi cab company and told the dispatcher to have the cab meet her at the AMPM on the corner of Hardy and University drives, he said.

“Just after 5 a.m. she has a conversation with the taxi cab driver and tells him that she is on her way over to meet him,” he said. “And just after 5:07 a.m. her phone goes dead, and there is no sign of Adrienne.”

Pooley said police know Adrienne never made it to the AMPM because the surveillance cameras at the gas station have “pretty good coverage” and do not show her walking up to the store.

Police searched Tempe Town Lake using sonar on June 17 based on the idea that Adrienne may have tried to walk to Arteaga’s apartment but did not find any sign of her, he said.

“If she was in the lake she would have more than likely surfaced by now due to the water temperatures,” he said. “Could she still be in there? Possibly, but we highly doubt it.”

Arteaga said he does not believe anyone at the party was involved in her disappearance, but he finds it strange that no one saw her leave the apartment.

“We knew most of the people at the party, and I don’t think anyone there would be capable of doing something this drastic,” he said. “We’re talking about kidnapping, and I don’t think any kids who are just looking to have a good time at a party would do that.”

Kelly Snyder, a retired Drug Enforcement Agency agent and former employee of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is the founder of the nonprofit group FindMe.

He and his team of ex-law enforcement officials, psychics and search dog trainers helped authorities locate the body of Jack Culolias, an ASU student who was missing for more than two weeks before his body was found in Tempe Town Lake.

Snyder said his team of psychics have turned him on to six possible locations of Adrienne’s whereabouts, four of which have already been searched. He said he plans on taking search dogs to help him comb through the other two areas in the coming days.

“Out of those six areas of interest, four were on the lake, and we searched those with our dogs,” he said. “But we never rule anything out, we just turn over all our information to the Tempe PD and to Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”

Rick said he has been doing everything to try and stay sane, including joining missing person support groups and speaking with as many media outlets as he can.

He said he and his son can barely eat or sleep, and he has quit his job, but he remains hopeful that his daughter will be found.

“I’m going to sleep to a nightmare and waking up to a nightmare,” he said. “My daughter is out there, and somebody knows something. I just keep spreading the word and praying to God, because we need a miracle.”

Adrienne is a Hispanic female with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5 feet, 6 inches, 110 pounds and has a tattoo of the sun on her neck near her left ear.

Any information that could help find Adrienne Salinas can be reported to Tempe Police at (480) 350-8311 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for her safe return.

 

Reach the reporter at npmendo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @NPMendoza