A 19-year-old from Hayward went missing a week ago while he was visiting a sister in Mexico, and U.S. authorities are now pressing local police to locate him.
Manuel Reyes left his East Bay home in early April to visit his sister in the city of Lagos de Morena. The city is in the state of Jalisco, outside of Leon, and is about equidistant from Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City.
Reyes, along with a 36-year-old friend, Jesus "Jessy" Ramon Corona, were last seen on the night of Sunday, May 2, around 10:30 p.m. As Newsweek reports, according to Reyes's sister, Norma, the pair were going out for tacos on Orozco y Jimenez Boulevard, which is the main drag in the center of Lagos de Morena.
She told local media outlet Cuadrante7 that after messaging with Reyes via WhatsApp, she became worried when he had not returned home by 4 a.m. At that point, she said, it appeared both his and Corona's phones were turned off.
No friends or family have heard from either man in the week since.
As NBC Bay Area reports, residents of Lagos de Morena say that "many people disappear in the region and the majority are young people between 13 and 22 years old."
🔴 #URGENTE Desde el pasado 3 de mayo no se sabe nada de José Manuel Reyes Contreras de 19 años y Jesús Ramón Corona, provenientes de California desaparecidos durante su visita a Lagos de Moreno Jalisco. Familiares piden apoyo para encontrarlos. Vía @JC_Reportero pic.twitter.com/M3bWQPhcgM— Tv Azteca Jalisco (@TVAztecaJalisco) May 7, 2021
Back in Hayward, Reyes's mother is distraught, and she says her son had told her in their last phone call that he would be home last Thursday.
"That's why I don't want to enter his room at all, other than pray, but I don't want to see his clothes or anything like that, because it reminds me of when he used to go out," she tells NBC Bay Area.
At least 73,000 people have gone missing in Mexico in the last 15 years, according to an official government update last summer. As Reuters reported at the time, while some of the missing turn up dead, a large proportion of the cases — the majority of which are missing young men — are people who have been abducted and forced into work for drug cartels. Young women are often sex-trafficked, and women make up about one quarter of the missing.
Because Reyes is an American citizen, the case is getting widespread attention on local television in Mexico, and pressure is mounting on local authorities to solve the case.