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Police Step up Search for Missing Woman

By Jorge Casuso

September 19 -- At a dead end, police are hoping someone, somewhere will recognize a missing woman who mysteriously vanished from her Santa Monica home three months ago.

So far, they’ve issued press releases, posted pictures on street corners and on the Web, even opened a booth in a supermarket parking lot in Venice frequented by Alicia Serrano Medina, 52, who has not returned to her home on the 700 block of Marine Street since mid-June.

Unlike other missing person cases, police are baffled by Medina’s disappearance, because she left behind her money, her wallet with her ids, her passport, her keys and her car and hasn’t been seen since, police said.

“We’re at a dead end,” said Lt. Alex Padilla, the Police Department spokesman. “You just don’t fall off the earth. You just don’t disappear.

“Santa Monica and the Westside aren’t so large,” Padilla said. “Someone by now would have seen her. . . We have no idea if she’s dead or alive.”

On Tuesday, police held a press conference attended by Medina’s family to get her picture out in the hopes someone will have seen her.

During the conference, Medina’s mother broke down and her son tried to paint a picture of his missing mother, Padilla said.

Medina has a birthmark by her nose, and although she’s short, her son said, she can be “mean” and won’t let anyone push her around.

“Her disappearance was out of character,” Padilla said. “She’s never done this where she’s disappeared.”

The conference is the latest effort by Santa Monica police to spread the word, Padilla said. Three weeks ago, police set up a booth at a supermarket parking lot on the corner of Inglewood Avenue and Braddock Drive in Venice, where Medina used to go.

“We had posters and flyers,” Padilla said. “Some people had seen her in the past, but not recently.

Police initially believed Medina had left with a male companion only known as “Rodrigo,” but they have since interviewed the man and determined that she was seen after he last met with her, Padilla said.

Police also initially thought Medina had disappeared on July2, but have since leaned that she was gone for two weeks before her son reported her missing, Padilla said

“He thought she was at her aunt and uncle’s, where she often stays,” Padilla said.

If the latest effort fails to bear fruit, police may take the case to a television show dedicated to finding missing persons, Padilla said.

But for now, they aren’t dismissing any scenario.

“There’s no reason to believe anyone would have ill regard for her,” Padilla said. “In some of these cases, it turns out to be the person you least expect.”

Anyone with information should call the Santa Monica Police Department, Office of Criminal Investigations, Robbery Homicide Unit at 310.458.8451.

For more information call Detective Henry at 310.458.8978 or Sgt. Herman at 310.458.8451, or the watch commander 24 hours a day at 310.458.8427.

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“We’re at a dead end. You just don’t fall off the earth. You just don’t disappear." Alex Padilla



“In some of these cases, it turns out to be the person you least expect.”


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