It was supposed to be a family camping weekend, but the trip left one member of the Castrejon family missing.
“It’s been very difficult, all we do is search,” Eduardo Castrejon told Dateline. His daughter, Janet Castrejon, 44, vanished the afternoon of June 19, 2015 from a camping area in the Chiricahua Mountains in southern Arizona. Janet, the oldest of four siblings, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in 1988, when she was 18 years old and studying to be an engineer. “She has a harder time with things now. She can’t remember things or see very well because of the accident,” Eduardo told Dateline. “She can’t live without us, but we have a hard time living without her too.”
According to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, Janet was last seen outside a campground bathroom in Rustler Park that Friday. Eduardo says his wife and Janet had gone to mail a letter at the pay station not far from where they parked their camper, and stopped to use the restroom. Janet was going to wait outside, but when her mother came out of the bathroom, she was gone. “My wife ran up to our camping spot to see if she had made it back up here, but I was here and never saw her. She never got back,” he said. “We immediately started searching for her, asking other campers. Soon one of my sons arrived and he started too.”
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Search and rescue teams have combed the area’s trails and camping sites, but no signs of Janet have been found. Eduardo, who is a family practice physician in Las Cruces, New Mexico, says their entire family has been traveling back and forth from their home to Arizona to search for Janet, but they believe she is no longer on the mountain.
“Someone has her, we are convinced there was an abduction. She’s not on the trails or anywhere the teams or our family has searched. It’s like she just disappeared.”
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment, but the office’s latest press release stated the department is working with multiple agencies in the search.
“Please, for my daughter, if you saw something at all, come forward. We’re worried because of the fact she cannot see and people may not believe her. People may assume she’s acting when she cannot remember something. Whoever has her will soon realize this and we don’t know what they will do. She needs help now.”
Janet Castrejon is described as 5’3” tall, weighing 250 pounds, with long dark hair that she wears in a braid. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with black lettering, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes with a red stripe on them.
If you have any information that can help bring Janet home, please contact the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office at (520) 432-9500.
Rachael Trost is an Associate Editor of social media and digital content for Dateline NBC and NBC News Specials. She started at Dateline in August 2014. Rachael graduated from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, where she worked on numerous award winning broadcasts and publications. She currently lives in New York City.