Missing Glendale Teen Alicia Navarro Found Safe in Montana After 4 Years

A recent photo of Alicia Navarro provided by Glendale Police

By Jessica Swarner

July 26, 2023

Navarro left her home home near 45th Avenue and Rose Lane in the middle of the night on Sept. 14, 2019.

Glendale Police announced Wednesday that Alicia Navarro, who has been missing since 2019, has been found safe and healthy. 

Navarro, who is described as “high-functioning autistic,” left home in the middle of the night on Sept. 15, 2019, at age 14. She left her family a note saying “I ran away. I will be back. I swear. I’m sorry.”

WATCH: Glendale Police’s Press Conference About the Finding of Alicia Navarro

Police said Navarro, now 18, went to police by herself in a small town in Montana near the Canadian border and identified herself. After interviewing her and her family earlier this week, police said they were confident in her identity. As of Wednesday, Navarro was still in Montana but she had been reunited with her family. 

A recent photo of Alicia Navarro provided by Glendale Police

“She is by all accounts safe, by all accounts healthy, and by all accounts happy,” police said during a press conference.

The Day of the Disappearance

Navarro’s mother Jessica Nunez told The Copper Courier in 2020 she stayed up late at their home near 45th Avenue and Rose Lane the night of Sept. 14, 2019, to wait for her husband to come home from work. 

She remembers Alicia coming downstairs around 1 a.m. for a glass of water and asking her mom why she was still awake. 

Nunez didn’t think much of it and eventually fell asleep with her two other children, while her husband fell asleep on the couch. 

When she woke up the next morning, she found the back door slightly open. 

She assumed her husband had forgotten to close it, but when she told him, he said he hadn’t been out back. 

That’s when Nunez sensed something was wrong and ran upstairs to find Alicia not in her bedroom. 

Upon further investigation, they found chairs pulled out in the backyard that they believe Alicia had used to climb over the wall. 

They also determined that she had taken her phone and laptop with her. Her phone was turned off so police couldn’t ping it to learn more about her location. 

Unsure of What Happened

Nunez told The Vanished podcast that Alicia experienced developmental delays and social difficulties growing up, leading to an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis when she was 12. 

Because of this, her mother said, she doesn’t have the same ability to determine a person’s intentions as others do. 

Nunez said one time she saw a stranger Alicia had met online asking her daughter for personal information. At that point, she had a talk with her daughter about internet safety and the possibility of predators. 

Despite this warning, Nunez believed someone was able to gain Alicia’s trust and convince her to leave her home. She said Alicia wouldn’t leave with someone she wasn’t familiar with. 

Nunez said police weren’t sure that Alicia was picked up by someone she was planning to meet. It’s possible she left and was walking alone when a stranger could have kidnapped her. 

It’s also possible she may have realized a person she was meeting was not who they said they were and tried to escape but was prevented from leaving.

Glendale police did not provide any information on Wednesday about why Navarro left home or what happened to her. 

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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