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Case Of Missing Woman Being Treated As ‘Criminal Matter’ After Dive Team Who Found Kiely Rodni Fail To Locate Her

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Jolissa Fuentes, Kiely Rodni

The disappearance of a 22-year-old California woman who has been missing for three weeks is now being treated as a "criminal matter," according to police, who theorize that foul play was involved.

Jolissa Fuentes was last seen during the early hours of August 7, captured on surveillance video at a gas station in Selma, California. Just hours before, Fuentes attended a family gathering and went home in the overnight hours to grab some belongings.

She stopped at a local convenience store/gas station, AM/PM, and was seen on surveillance video making a purchase and leaving the location in her car, a 2011 silver Hyundai sedan. 

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"Ms. Fuentes has been gone for a long time … And this is not normal behavior for Ms. Fuentes," Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said, according to NBC News. "So, we are treating this as a criminal matter."

The new characterization of the case comes after Fuentes' family repeatedly criticized the police for not taking her disappearance seriously.

Over the weeks that Fuentes has been missing, Selma police have reportedly been working with the Fresno Sheriff’s Office and using some of their resources, such as helicopters, to assist with the search. In addition, federal law enforcement officers are also involved in the search.

However, the police didn't suspect foul play in the beginning.

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“We picked her up on [the] camera after that," Alcaraz said, according to The Independent, referring to found footage of Fuentes driving on her own after leaving the gas station. "However, we’re not going to relinquish that information, as we… have to kind of consider all avenues."

“Right now, there’s nothing that is insinuating foul play, but, again, we don’t have much information.”

Despite Selma police's initial assessment that Fuentes hadn't been taken, her parents thought otherwise.

On the night of her disappearance, Fuentes' parents revealed that their daughter had stopped at her grandmother’s house to grab some money and then headed to the AM/PM. They added that she has not been in touch with them since, something that isn't normal.

In addition, Fuentes' sister had received two missed video chat calls from Jolissa at 5:24 a.m., making it the last attempted call from the 22-year-old before she vanished.

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In an interview with People, Fuentes' mother, Norma Nuñez, said that her daughter had gotten into a disagreement with a friend at a party shortly after coming home, and right before leaving to go to the gas station.

"She just said that she had got in an argument at the party with her friend, and that she was going to go to the store, and that she would be right back," Nuñez said.

"I know that she didn't take off on her own. I know she's not out there willingly. She wouldn't do this," she continued. "Something happened to her."

Nuñez had also confirmed that the YouTube diver volunteer dive team Adventures With Purpose, who helped find missing teen Kiely Rodni's body earlier this month, had been unable to locate her daughter in the Pine Flat Dam or Avocado Lake in Piedra, California, where Fuentes' phone had last pinged, during a search of the water, last week. 

"We can't find her. There's no car. There's nothing," Nuñez told People. "We think somebody took her."

As police continue searching for Fuentes, Nuñez has launched a GoFundMe to help with the financial burden after hiring a private investigator to aid in the search for her daughter as well.

"We're going to find you, baby," Nuñez said. "You just keep praying to God to give you the strength that you need to get up and go where you need to go, Jolissa. But we will find you. We will never stop looking for you. We love you and we need you home."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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