I still remember the moment like it was yesterday when my family contacted me in a panic to let me know that my cousin and goddaughter, Marizela “EmEm” Perez, had gone missing.
It’s the text you get in the middle of the night that doesn’t seem real. That was nine years ago today when EmEm vanished from the University of Washington campus in the middle of the afternoon walking away from a Safeway grocery store.
Once again, I must report that there is still no news on her whereabouts. Nothing. Last summer, I finally received some documents in reply to a public records request about her case. But nothing in the file shed light on any potential investigative leads. I have heard from a few true-crime podcasters that they are interested in following up and hope to get in contact with them soon.
The Charley Project maintains a page on Marizela’s case here.
Here’s Marizela’s missing person flyer:
Here are videos of her last known whereabouts:
The organization called NAMUS is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States: “Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. Fortunately, many missing children and adults are quickly found, alive and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year – what many agencies consider ‘cold cases.’ It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year.” Marizela is one of thousands of missing persons in the NAMUS database.
If you live in the Washington area and have any relevant information, please contact the Seattle Police Department at 206-684-5582.
As some of you may remember, EmEm had a tattoo on her forearm with a Tagalog phrase: “Lahat ay magiging maayos” (meaning “all will be well”) on the inside of her left arm.
Please keep her parents in your prayers, as well as all parents of missing loved ones who live every day with the unfathomable dread of waking up every morning of not knowing.