On the morning of January 23, 2018, Alma Cristina was driving her son to school in Los Angeles when she noticed a familiar face walking on the sidewalk. It was her younger brother, 17-year-old Angel Rubio.
“He was walking toward the bus,” Alma told Dateline. “I called out to him, but he was listening to music so he didn’t hear me.”
Alma drove away, knowing she’d see Angel later – they were neighbors, after all, and Angel often came over to spend time with his nieces and nephews.
After school that day, Angel called his mom to say he was taking the bus home, as he did every day. But Angel never made it home.
“[Our mom] called me the next day and said, ‘Your brother never showed up’,” Alma told Dateline. According to Alma, Angel’s mother said her son’s phone had been turned off since shortly after she’d spoken to him while he was on the bus.
“The family came to the counter of the police department the next day,” Lieutenant Patrick Kraut of the Huntington Police Department told Dateline. “Angel [was] listed as a Missing Juvenile/Runaway based on his age, prior actions and no evidence of foul play. [Angel’s case] was submitted to the records bureau. It reached our investigative team and we made fliers.”
Authorities also created a critical-reach flier, which includes circumstances about the disappearance and an image of the missing person that is sent to law enforcement agencies, educational centers, hospitals and other local organizations.
Alma told Dateline that authorities called a few days later to gather information about the days leading up to her younger brother’s disappearance.
“The police wanted information to see if [Angel] ran away, if he used drugs or if he got in an argument with our parents,” Alma said. “We told him, ‘No.’ There’s nothing missing. The only thing he took was the clothes he was wearing, his cell and his backpack.”
Since Alma had seen Angel walking toward the bus the morning he disappeared, she was able to confirm to Dateline that “his backpack looked light,” as if it weren’t filled with extra clothes or personal belongings.
According to Alma, there has been no activity on Angel’s phone since he called his mom on the afternoon of January 23. Police, however, do have other leads as to where Angel may be.
“On January 24, there was a Greyhound bus ticket purchased with cash under the name of the missing juvenile [at] the 7th Street Greyhound station [in Los Angeles],” Lt. Kraut told Dateline. “Greyhound can only provide a list of the names that that day’s tickets were purchased under.”
Lt. Kraut told Dateline the final destination of the bus was Tijuana, Mexico, but there are several stops along the way. Police have been unable to confirm if Angel actually got on the bus, or if the ticket purchaser is the same Angel Rubio who is missing.
“We’re still trying to speak with the different entities to see if we can obtain [surveillance] footage,” Lt. Kraut said, adding that “it’s a very time-consuming process.”
In the meantime, Alma says her parents aren’t standing by idly.
“They’ve been going to Tijuana every weekend to see if someone has seen him,” she told Dateline. “They also made a report over there, but there’s been no sighting or anything.”
According to Alma, her younger brother really lives up to his name -- Angel.
“He’s very respectful with everyone. He’s helpful. If you’re having issues, he’ll help you,” Alma said. “He’s really good with kids. He’s a really, really good uncle.”
She did say, though, that his young age is an added worry for her family.
“He is really innocent, that’s also why we are worried,” she said. “He doesn’t see the bad in people.”
Angel Rubio was last seen wearing a grey sweatshirt with the words “KING 47” in black on the front. He was wearing black pants, black Air Jordan sneakers, and was carrying a black backpack. He is described as being 5’11” and weighing about 170 lbs. with hazel eyes and brown hair. If you have any information on the circumstances regarding Angel’s disappearance, please call the Huntington Park Police Department at 323-584-6254.