Police in Washington are stepping up their search for a missing college student who disappeared after leaving a Seattle grocery store almost two weeks ago.
Authorities say Marizela Perez, an 18-year-old student at the University of Washington, was last seen March 5 around 2 p.m. at a Safeway store near campus.
While police have said there is no evidence to indicate foul play, law enforcement as well as dozens of volunteers are scouring the area for any trace of the young woman.
“We remain hopeful and we will not rest until we find Marizela,” the woman’s parents, Edgar and Jasmin Perez, said in a statement.
The family released surveillance video last week of Perez exiting the Safeway check stand and store and posted it to YouTube. The video shows Perez wearing a dark-hooded jacket and denim jeans with light brown suede-laced boots. Her family said she was possibly wearing green eye contacts and carrying a denim drawstring backpack with rainbow butterfly screen print.
Perez’s family said they believe the young woman was headed for a light-rail station and then on to the university’s campus.
Friends of Perez have created a group page on Facebook called “Marizela Perez: PLEASE HELP FIND HER” in the hopes that someone will recognize the young woman. As of Thursday morning, more than 35,000 users had joined the group.
“It would mean the world to me if everyone helped spread the word,” Lydia Chong, Perez’s friend, wrote on the group’s site. “I refuse to let her be just another number, she’s made such a big difference in the lives of people in our hometown.”
Perez’s family has also set up a second website — FindMarizela.com — with more details on the woman’s disappearance.
Family members said that the young woman was taking anti-depressants at the time of her disappearance and is “in a vulnerable state of mind.”
“We are concerned about Marizela’s safety, health, and well-being,” the family said.
Perez is the cousin of nationally-syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin.
Perez is described as 5-foot-5 with brown hair and an asymmetrical “bob” haircut. Authorities are urging anyone with information on her whereabouts to call Seattle police at (206) 684-5520.