CBS47 Investigation: Merced mother of 8 missing. Police need public’s help to solve

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A Merced mother of eight has now been missing for nearly 4 months.

33-year-old Ermelinda Alvarado was reported missing on April 11th.

Her family says they are hoping for the best.

But with each passing day their faith is being tested.

Her husband, Jose says, “April 11th, around 2 in the morning is when I called and reported her missing. We haven’t had contact with her since.”

While her husband was on work trip in Texas, police say Alvarado rented a car.

But it was found days later on east bound Highway 10, near the California and Arizona border.

Since her disappearance, Jose and her sisters, Maria and Susan have taken trips to the desert in Riverside County where the vehicle was discovered.

They have passed out flyers and searched for anything that would help find her.

After working with a volunteer private investigation service police found a location where her phone pinged a nearby tower.

The family then used Google maps to pinpoint an area to search.

Jose says, “We searched it. It was hot. It was hard but we did whatever we could,”

Then a break in the case.

After a three mile hike in the desert and a mile to the top of a mountain, the family discovered her shoes.

Then a break, after one hike, the family discovered her shoes.

Investigators told the family it’s a heavy traffic area for drug mules.

Maria says, “It’s right next to the border. It’s very terrifying to just think of every scenario that could have happened.”

The family tells CBS47 members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office searched the area, but came up empty.

Since her disappearance, her sisters have learned Ermelinda struggled with an addiction to pain medication.

Maria says, “I know that vicodin came into play. After she disappeared I started looking at my mom’s medication and they were missing.”

Just weeks before she went missing, the family placed her on a 72-hour hold inside a rehab center.

Right now, here is what we know on April 8th at 7:30 a.m. Ermelinda dropped her husband off for a business trip at the Fresno airport.

On April 9th around noon, home video camera’s show her leaving her house.

She was carrying only a brown paper bag under her arm.

Around 7 that night her cousins saw her in Merced.

Sometime afterwards she turned off the location tracker on her phone.

On April 10th at 2:25 in the morning, she called her sister Maria.

She said she was driving to Florida to visit her brother.

Minutes later, she called her husband and said she wanted to drive to Texas to be with him.

At 9:37 that morning a video was posted by Ermelinda on her social media account.

It shows her alone in the desert near Blythe, California.

Later that morning she finally answered a call from her sister.

Maria says, “She told me she was in a fender bender and two gentleman tried to take her car and keys away and she had to run for her life.”

Almost 3 hours later, she answered a call from her brother-in-law.

She told him a friend picked her up and she was on her way to Los Angeles.

That is the last time anyone heard from her.

Jose says, “we can’t lose the faith. It’s hard, but we can’t lose our faith.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Merced Police Department at (209) 385-8880, remember you can remain anonymous.

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