LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Police Department has now been able to connect a few dots about the disappearance of Sandy Michelle Cervantes who was last seen in June of 2019 but not reported missing until February of 2020. However, the investigation has come to a point where the public’s help is needed.
“Our investigators did an extensive amount of following leads and different investigative things to try to find Ms. Cervantes,” Public Information Officer Allison Matherly said. “Unfortunately, at this point, we’ve really come up a little short and we’re looking for further leads to investigate that will, hopefully, help us find her safe.”
While police seek new tips, additional police and investigative documents are revealing more about the timeline and circumstances surrounding the 33-year-old’s disappearance.
As part of LPD’s efforts to find her, they’ve inputted details on NamUs, a national database of missing persons. The details say she was last seen by police on an assist motorist call on the night of June 20, 2019. Just two days later her purse was found by a citizen in an Abernathy dumpster. Two days after that, her 2006 red Saturn Vue was found burning near Lubbock’s Atzlan Park in the 1000 block of Cesar E. Chavez Drive.
A police report regarding the burning car says some doors were open and no one was on scene. Investigators photographed the vehicle but due to the damage, a VIN or license plate could not be read. They believed it was arson, likely a stolen vehicle and suspects were trying to destroy evidence.
The point at which Lubbock police were notified of Cervantes' disappearance was in February of 2020 when family discovered a social media post about the recovered purse, according to a police report. Found inside the purse were debit and credit cards and other identifying information. That’s when family filed a missing person report, saying they had also not heard from her since June.
Police connected the burned vehicle to this case by searching Cervantes' name in a records database.
“There’s not something specific that leads us to believe that there is foul play, but the totality of the circumstances at this point does have us concerned that that is the case,” Matherly told KCBD.
According to the missing person police report, family went to Cervantes' apartment and it was empty. They also told police she was “hanging around bad people" and also seeing someone who lived near where the vehicle was found.
“We’ve put in hundreds of hours of investigation into trying to find Ms. Cervantes, things like collecting DNA and putting her into different databases such as NamUs,” Matherly said. “We’ve done tons of interviews. We’ve looked into the smallest leads to try to find her and, at this point, we really need another piece of information and that small piece can really make a difference in helping us to find Ms. Cervantes.”
Police describe her as having black or potentially reddish, orange dyed hair. She’s five feet tall, approximately 150 pounds and she has brown eyes.
If you know anything about this case, you can contact Sgt. Justin Anderson at 806-775-2401.