MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Nearly a year after they were reported missing, authorities are still trying to find out what happened to a mother and daughter who vanished.
Liliana, 43, and Daniela Moreno, 8, were reported missing to Doral police on May 31st. Investigators said they found Moreno’s purse and wallet inside her apartment. Her front door was locked and repeated calls to her cellphone went unanswered.
“Her belongings were still in the apartment. Here passport, Driver’s License, wallet, credit cards, debit cards…her vehicle was in the parking lot,” said Doral Police Det. Pedro Corpas on Thursday.
Miami-Dade Homicide detectives have this case now so the presumption is that Liliana and Daniela are dead. They want to know what became of them and if they could possibly still be alive.
Her family is desperate for answers.
“It’s been a year now. She’s had another birthday,” said her sister Carolina while crying. “We must find her. I am pleading with the community!”
Moreno’s siblings live in Colombia. They said the last time they heard from her was on May 3rd. It was a happy occasion – her sister’s birthday.
The investigation into the disappearance has led police to several locations in Miami-Dade County, including a canal off Okeechobee Road and 138th Street and a warehouse district in Medley where Daniela’s father and Moreno’s off-and-on boyfriend, Gustavo Castano, worked.
On June 3rd, officers were called out to Hialeah Gardens, behind a Home Depot at 13895 West Okeechobee Road, where Castano was reportedly cutting himself with a boxcutter.
Just days earlier, Castano told police he had dropped Moreno and their daughter near the canal on Okeechobee Road on May 30th. That would turn out to be the last time anyone claimed to have seen them alive.
Castano has denied having anything to do with their disappearance.
During the investigation, a tip led police to a remote lake near N.W. 127th Avenue and 25th Street.
They also searched the north side of a large wooded area from S.W. 8th Street and S.W. 137th Avenue to S.W. 157th Avenue.
So far all the searches have seemingly turned up very little additional information that can help the police figure out what happened to them.
Investigators suspect foul play and Castano remains the chief person of interest in the investigation.
“If he has any further information, we would also like to hear from him,” said Det. Chris Villano with Miami-Dade Police.
Cops won’t give up.
“It is our responsibility to the family to provide closure to the chapter in their lives and to find these two people who are greatly missed by the family and who are suffering,” said Asst. Director Freddy Ramirez with Miami-Dade Police.
The family would like anyone with information that could possibly help in the investigation to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS. A reward of up to $20,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
“She is just a little girl,” Caroline Moreno said of her niece. “She doesn’t deserve this. Please help us.”