Kelly Vazquez Said She Goes To A Tampa Casino, Then Disappeared
Volunteers organized by non-profit search and rescue Texas EquuSearch passed through a wooded area in the eastern Hillsborough County community known as Keysville last Saturday. They were looking for Kelly Vazquez, 21, whose family has not seen her since May 23.
Vazquez returned to her grandmother’s in Valrico that morning around 9 a.m., saying she had been to Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa the day before. She picked up clothes, said she would be back in a few hours and left with a man she was dating, her grandmother Maria Vazquez said.
a A video of a friend out of state messaged Kelly Vazquez later that afternoon as she was shopping at Walmart with two men. This friend, Madison Repsher, says Vazquez mentioned that she could return to the casino before the call was cut. Vazquez then texted that her service was bad because she was “in the middle of nowhere”.
One day later, Maria Vazquez received a text from her granddaughter’s phone saying she was going home. But that never happened.
“After that, her phone broke,” Maria Vazquez said.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation on May 29, but a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said he could not share many details, “because it is still a very serious matter. active “.
This agency confirmed that the investigation led detectives in Keysville, an unincorporated area near Lithia. Spokeswoman Amanda Granit said the sheriff’s office and private search teams were involved in efforts to locate Vazquez.
Kelly Vazquez’s mother, Debbie Courville, and several of Kelly Vazquez’s friends have used social media to research information and publicize her case, and said she passed several leads on to sheriff’s investigators.
Courville, who lives in Oregon, said she has done all she can to keep people up to date with her daughter, including posting comments on stories about Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old who made national headlines after she disappeared on a van trip across the United States She knows the story of Petito, whose remains were later found in Wyoming, drew attention to cases of missing persons in general.
“I just don’t understand why some cases get this kind of attention and others don’t,” Courville told the Tampa Bay Times.
Kelly Vazquez’s relatives have also used social media to publicize the cases of two other young women missing from eastern Hillsborough County: Veronica Reyes-Diaz, 23, who went missing from Dover on January 17, 2020, and Cieha Taylor, 28 , who went missing from Plant City on February 6, 2020. These two women were featured on the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Cold Case podcast, Unfinished.
Tampa Bay law enforcement agencies receive thousands of missing person reports each year. The vast majority are resolved and the person is found within days.
Many missing persons cases involve adults leaving their homes and are not classified as “in danger” or in “unusual circumstances”, but state law requires that they all do “a prompt investigation using the appropriate resources ”.
Cases where law enforcement alert the media or publish it on social media is at the discretion of the agency and depends on the circumstances and the investigation.
Courville said she spoke to her daughter almost every day before her disappearance and that they discussed plans for her to make a fresh start in life by moving to Oregon, where Courville lives on a farm. . Other family members said Vazquez dreamed of working in the medical field and was taking action to make it a reality.
Maria Vazquez said her granddaughter struggled with drugs. She said she got sober about a month before she disappeared and worked as a restaurant waitress, until she hurt her knee, lost her job “and sort of relapsed.”
Kelly Vazquez has lived with her grandmother on and off for most of her life. They went everywhere together, friends said, from the nail salon to the gas station.
Maria vazquez took matters into his own hands in the days following his granddaughter’s disappearance, contacted a man she described as a known drug dealer, and drove 15 miles with him to Keysville, where he l ‘took her in different trailers where he said she could be, seek and talk to people.
“I had this stranger in my car,” Maria Vazquez said. “People said I was crazy and the detective scolded me later, but I did it for my granddaughter. He is such an important person to me. I’m a 68 year old female, and I walked there for five hours for five hours.
Maria Vazquez said she contacted the man her granddaughter left her home with on May 23. She said he told her he last saw Kelly Vazquez walking barefoot in Keysville on the afternoon of May 24, picked her up and dropped her off at a friend’s house. . She tried to get answers from this friend, but said they weren’t talking.
In June, someone came into possession of two Kelly Vazquez iPhones, an older one with no service, and the one she was using when she disappeared, said Maria Vazquez. The person who had them said that someone had tried to sell them to their daughter. The phones had been reset and information erased, and one of them was missing a SIM card. They could not be activated because Maria Vazquez had previously reported them to the phone company as stolen.
“We’ve heard all kinds of stories – overdose, trafficking – but it’s just hearsay, detectives say,” Maria Vazquez said of her granddaughter’s disappearance. “We really don’t know what’s going on. “
More recently, Maria Vazquez said detectives showed her a pair of shoes recovered by volunteers during a search in Keysville, although she is not sure where exactly. Searches took place near a bridge on Nichols Road near the Polk County line, Courville said, and around Keysville Park.
“I am 100% sure,” said Maria Vazquez. “These are his shoes.”
Courville said her daughter started hanging out with a new crowd before she disappeared.
“Kelly is so funny, smart and would really do anything for anyone,” Courville said. “She just wanted to be accepted, and I think a bunch of parasites took advantage of her. I understand people are afraid to come forward, but whoever has any information, you can do it anonymously, please just give us a lead.
Anyone with information about Kelly Vazquez should call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8000.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, by sending the keyword CTYTIP and your tip to 847411, or by downloading the HCSO Tip app for phones.