The disappearance of Sofia Juarez in February 2003, when she was four years old, shocked the community of Kennewick.
Home to 81,000 people, 220 miles east of Seattle, Kennewick launched a huge search for the little girl. But the trail went cold.
Now a TikTok video is giving investigators new hope.
Sofia Juarez disappeared from Kennewick, Washington, in February 2003, aged four
Sofia Juarez as she would look today, according to an artistic impression
The unnamed woman spoke to Zazueta in Culiacan, Sinaloa, about celebrating birthdays
A trucking company in Washington state agreed to help spread the word
The woman, sitting in a plaza in Culiacan, Mexico, is asked by journalist Oscar Zazueta, with YouTube channel Aká y Allá, how she feels about her next birthday.
‘I’m not happy about it, because I have a lot on my mind,’ she replies in Spanish, seated on a bench in Plazuela Álvaro Obregón.
‘In all honesty, I don’t like my birthday. It shocks me each time I have another one.
‘I want to say hi to my auntie and my nana.
‘And I want them to come to get me, because I’ve been kidnapped.’
Zazueta looks taken aback, and she continued: ‘Yes, they say I was kidnapped. Maybe from Italy, maybe from Japan.
‘I hope they come for me. Because in reality I don’t know where I’m from – from here, or from there.
‘And now I’m in Sinaloa.’
The woman says she believes she was abducted, but has no idea where she is from
The woman goes on to say that she has problems with drugs, and asks for help, local media reported.
They said her mother, with whom she was living in Kennewick, has since died, without ever knowing the fate of her daughter.
Lt. Aaron Clem, a spokesman with the Kennewick’s police department, said they were all eager to track down the woman.
‘This is one of those cases that everybody in our community knows exactly what they were doing when she went missing,’ said Clem, a 25-year veteran with the department.
Zazueta has been contacted by the police, and on his Facebook page posted a video of him asking around the plaza in case anyone had seen her.
Zazueta, in the black t-shirt, and a colleague asked people in the plaza if they had seen her
Several people in Culiacan told Zazueta and his colleague (above) that they recognized her
One woman said she used to see her frequently, barefoot and dragging a suitcase with her belongings, but has not seen her since the interview, a month ago.
Another homeless person tells Zazueta that he recognized her, but has not seen her for a while.
Others in the area say they have seen her passing, but not recently.
Clem told NBC News on Friday: ‘The ultimate goal is to get her identified and have her voluntarily give us a DNA sample.
‘There is enough there that we need to do our due diligence.’
The police department about a month ago launched a website to generate interest in Sofia’s case and has received around 100 tips, Clem said.
The kidnapped girl is described on the site as ‘a beacon of sunshine who had a bright and innocent life stolen from her.’
‘Her family, friends and community have lived under a dark cloud since she was taken from us,’ the website says.
‘Sofia was, and still is, loved by all who knew her.’
Clem said police are also speaking to a local witness that they deem ‘highly credible’ who saw a crying girl being led away by another person.
The girl matched Sofia’s description and the time of the alleged incident is about when Sofia went missing, Clem said.
The same witness also led police to another promising lead about a windowless, grey or light blue van from the 1970s or 80s that was parked in the area near where Sofia went missing the night of her kidnapping.
‘It would be amazing,’ said Clem, when asked what solving the case would mean.
‘It would be great for the family and great for the community.
‘Everyone is looking forward to her coming home.’