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‘I’ve done my crying. Now, I’m doing my fighting’: Zeeland mom determined to find missing daughter

Mom says her 15-year-old daughter Elena has been missing since April 4. She left a note saying, ‘I’ll miss you. I love you a lot.’
Pic 1 of misisng teen Elena Carmona .jpg
Pic 2 of misisng teen Elena Carmona .JPG
Pic 2 - This is the letter Elena Carmona left behind.jpg
Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 08:30:37-04

ZEELAND, Mich. — Sara Carmona will never forget the morning of Sunday, April 4 when she walked into her daughter’s room to find a note on her bed instead of her 15-year-old daughter Elena sleeping.

“In her room there was a note on her bed that said that she had set off and she was going to be staying with friends locally,” Carmona said during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “Pretty much said that she promises she’ll be OK and that’s she loves me and she’ll miss me. And let everybody else know that she loves them and will miss them too.”

The letter read in part:

“Dear Mom, I left. I’ve taken as much as I could carry and set off. I’ll text you when I can. Please don’t get rid of my stuff because at some point I’m going to come back for it. I've taken Nacho and Naranja. Dont worry. I'll be safe. I'll be around Zeeland/Holland, switching between houses. (...) ”

Immediately Carmona knew something was wrong considering Elena was shy and introverted, she said. Elena had a small circle of friends, and so Carmona decided to reach out to them. She also informed Zeeland police.

“We exhausted all the possibilities and talked to friends, got messages and found out that she was telling her friends good-bye, that she was going away,” Carmona recalled. “She didn’t tell them where she was going but that she told one friend she’d be in Michigan, one friend that she’d be far away, and another that she’d be three hours away.”

Carmona added that Elena covered the house’s security camera and removed the battery from her phone before leaving. It’s because of these steps Carmona believes Elena was groomed and lured by someone online.

“Regardless, whether she was talking to the person for two weeks or longer, she’s with a stranger. She’s not with anybody we know. Like I said, she’s dropped off the face of the earth,” Carmona said. “We talked to a couple of IT people who said this is advanced stuff.”

Since then the FBI has gotten involved, Carmona said. She’s even created a Facebook page to get the word out that she’s missing. As stated in the letter, Elena, who's an animal lover and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, left with their cat Nacho. So, authorities are checking local shelters to see if he turns up there.

Nevertheless, Carmona's not giving up on her mission to find her daughter.

“I’ve done my crying. Now, I’m doing my fighting,” Carmona said. “I cry when I go to bed, but as soon as I wake up I’m at it again. I need to find her. I need to bring her home.”

***For tips, please call Zeeland Police at (616) 772-9125 or Ottawa Co. Silent Observer at (877) 887-4536***

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