Fifteen-year-old Hayley Lamez is the eldest of five sisters, a position her mother said Hayley takes to heart.
“Hayley is an amazing young lady. She’s sweet, smart, and articulate. And she loves her sisters,” Hayley’s mother Alisha Lamez told Dateline. “And she loves animals. One time I killed an ant and we had to have a funeral for the ant because, as Hayley cried, ‘A life is a life, no matter how small.’”
But teenage years can be tough as social pressures mount. Alisha told Dateline she and Hayley got into an argument at their Redding, California home on February 4, 2019. Later that night, after Alisha and her husband, Hayley’s father, had gone to bed, Hayley snuck out of the house.
When Alisha messaged Hayley the next day, Hayley told her mother she was staying with friends in town. Though she remained in contact with Hayley, Alisha said she also contacted police that day to report her daughter missing.
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“I was talking to the missing persons officer a couple times a week. But it’s not illegal for a minor to run away in state of California,” Alisha said. "Hayley wouldn’t tell me exactly where she was because she knew I would come get her. But she said she was with friends in Redding, and she was safe.”
Alisha said her daughter was messaging her from a phone a friend had given her that only connected to Wi-Fi, so Alisha couldn’t access the phone’s records or location. According to Alisha, Hayley did not have access to a car or a bank account and did not take many clothes with her.
But on February 24, all contact from Hayley stopped. Nobody – her mother, her sisters, her friends – could get in contact with her.
“I just kept messaging her saying, ‘I love you. I miss you. Come home,’” Alisha told Dateline. “When her younger sister had a birthday on March 14 and Hayley didn’t call, that’s when I started getting really concerned.”
Hayley’s normally active social media accounts have also been inactive since February 24, according to Alisha.
“Her best friend -- people she’s been friends with for years -- can’t find her,” Alisha said. “I call her friends all the time, and I post constantly.”
The Redding Police Department was not available to reply to Dateline’s request for comment. However, Hayley’s case is listed as an open missing persons investigation on their website. Alisha told Dateline that Hayley’s loved ones have posted fliers in their hometown of Redding and also in Las Vegas, where she fears her daughter may have been entered into sex trafficking.
“You always think, as a parent, that you get a lifetime of memories with your children – homecoming, prom, college, them getting married and you walking them down the aisle,” Alisha said. “I’m so scared that all I have are the pictures and memories that we created in her short 15 years.”
Hayley Lamez is described as being 5’10” tall and weighing 130 lbs. with dark brown hair and blue eyes. If you have any information on the circumstances surrounding Hayley’s disappearance, please call the Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200. To remain anonymous, you can call the Nor-Cal Alliance for the Missing 530-378-4491 or fill out their tip form at http://www.nor-calallianceforthemissing.org/tips.html.
Editor's note:According to a Facebook post by Alisha Lamez, her daughter Hayley returned home unharmed on the evening of May 20, 2019, hours after this article was published.
Bianca Hillier covers missing person and homicide cases for NBC News.