Maria Garcia knows exactly how many days have passed since her daughter disappeared. She’s kept count. Sunday marks 854 days without Nancy Troche Garcia, and her mother said she has suffered tremendously through each and every one of them.
Nancy was last seen on May 20, 2018, in Asheboro, North Carolina. She was 28 years old at the time. Captain Richard Thompson with the Asheboro Police Department told Dateline that a welfare check was performed at Nancy’s apartment in Asheboro on May 23 after a co-worker reported she had not shown up to work in a few days.
Detectives learned that the last sighting of Nancy was on May 20 when she left her 5-month-old daughter, Natalia, in the care of the child’s father, Nancy’s ex-boyfriend.
Captain Thompson told Dateline that according to both the ex-boyfriend and his sister, Nancy had left the baby with him and asked the sister to help with the child. They said she told them she was traveling to Mexico because her mother was very sick.
But when detectives contacted Nancy’s mother, Maria Garcia, she informed them that she was not sick and that Nancy had not been planning to visit.
Dateline attempted to reach Nancy’s ex-boyfriend for comment, but was unsuccessful.
Maria last spoke to her daughter a week before she disappeared. She said Nancy always called on Saturdays to catch up with family in Mexico. She added that Nancy seemed her normal happy, upbeat self. But there were no plans for her to travel to Mexico.
Olin Doss, a retired deputy sheriff and member of a Hispanic Outreach Committee based in Columbus, Georgia, has traveled to Asheboro to help Nancy’s family as well as reach out to the Hispanic population in the area.
“Many in the Hispanic community are afraid to report crimes and missing people, because they may be undocumented,” Olin Doss explained. “So their stories are left untold. Crimes are not reported. We’re here to help.”
Olin’s daughter, Christine Harrod, who is a member of the Facebook page “Missing Nancy Troche Garcia” helped translate an interview between Dateline and Nancy’s mother, Maria, who lives in Mexico and doesn’t speak English.
“I am suffering every day since Nancy went missing,” Maria said, crying. “I just want to know where she is. I just want answers.”
Maria told Dateline that she has traveled to Asheboro four times since Nancy disappeared. During her visits, she meets with the detectives at the Asheboro Police Department, hoping for new information.
Captain Thompson told Dateline that an investigation was launched in May 2018 when Nancy was reported missing. Interviews were conducted with Nancy’s ex-boyfriend, his family, and Nancy’s friends and family.
Some of Nancy’s friends told police they last saw her at a child’s birthday party the day before she disappeared. They said everything seemed normal and that both Nancy and her daughter seemed to be having a good time at the party.
Nancy’s phone records were reviewed and her apartment was searched, but Capt. Thompson said there wasn’t anything that brought them closer to finding Nancy.
He added that there was no record of Nancy boarding a flight to Mexico, or anywhere else. Her burgundy 2001 Chevrolet Impala has also been missing since May 20.
Captain Thompson said the license plate number has been searched and that both Nancy and the vehicle have been entered into the NCIC system (National Crime Information Center). There is no record of the Chevy Impala crossing the border into Mexico and no trace of Nancy.
Nearly two years after Nancy vanished, in January 2020, detectives revealed new clues about her disappearance. They had gained access to her Google account.
The search confirmed that the day before Nancy went missing, she had mapped her way to a birthday party, which was consistent with what her friends had previously told police.
The records also showed that Nancy had used Google Maps to get to a car dealership in Madison, North Carolina.
Sergeant Jeremy Suddeth, one of the lead detectives on the case, immediately went to the dealership to gather information for their investigation.
“Unfortunately, that’s where it ended,” Capt. Thompson said. “We didn’t find anything that aided in our investigation and we hit a dead end.”
He said the account went quiet after that.
Frustrated by the lack of answers in her daughter’s disappearance, Nancy’s mother, Maria, had planned on returning to Asheboro in May, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on those plans.
She told Dateline she hopes to get back to Asheboro before the end of the year. Her granddaughter, Natalia, who currently lives with Nancy’s ex-boyfriend and his family, will be three years old in December.
“I feel helpless,” Maria told Dateline through a translator. “I need answers. Nancy is good and loving. I miss her.”
Nancy, who grew up in Mexico, one of five children, has always been a hard worker and was determined to make a good life for herself and her family, her mother said. Nancy moved to the United States in 2011 with a man to whom she was engaged. Maria said their marriage was not a good one, but Nancy was able to branch out on her own and become a U.S. citizen.
“She worked hard to be there,” Maria told Dateline. “She deserved a better life.”
Nancy began dating the man with whom she had Natalia.
“She loves her daughter so much,” Maria said. “She would not have left her baby behind. She was dedicated to Natalia. She was dedicated to giving her a good life.”
Captain Thompson and lead detectives Jeremy Suddeth and Andy Rippey, assured Dateline that they are still actively working the case and encourage anyone with information to come forward. The police have not named a suspect in Nancy’s disappearance.
Capt. Thompson added that they have contacted the FBI, but said they have not received assistance.
Nancy’s mother hopes a $7,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts will help encourage people to come forward.
“It’s all I have,” Maria said. “I hope it’s enough. Please, just help bring my daughter home.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call 336-626-1316 or to contact Crime Stoppers at 336-672-7463 (67-CRIME).