Part 2: Missing without a trace

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YAKIMA Wash. -- While some who have gone missing in Yakima County aren't found for years, others are found sometimes with a tragic result.

Alejandro Aguilera was last seen alive September 30th, according to the Toppenish Police Department.

Like others who've had someone go missing, at first they thought nothing was wrong. Aguilera's sister Araceli Aguilera Suarez says at first, they thought he had spent the night with his girlfriend.

"On Sunday October 1st, she messaged my little sister on Instagram saying oh where's Alejandro is he home he's not answering my phone calls or texts,” said Suarez.

Suarez says the girlfriend explained that they were hanging out with a couple of friends but later Aguilera walked away from the group. That’s the last they heard from him.

Like any family would do if a loved one goes missing Aguilar's family gathered friends and coworkers together to look for him.

"We walked throughout the river, many people walked with me to try and find him but we couldn't,” said Aguilar's mother Rosa Suarez.

Mike Bastinelli from the Yakima Police Department says the first thing people should do when someone goes missing is report it to the police department so an investigation can take place.

"As time goes on it becomes less likely that they're still alive and more likely that they're deceased and then you're dealing with a whole other issue that you're trying to find a body not a live person,” said Bastinelli.

Suarez says days later they received a letter from a towing truck company saying they had found Aguilera's car near the Yakima River.

"They found it with the doors wide open the keys in the ignition. the battery the stereo and I believe the speakers were all stolen,” said Suarez.

The Toppenish Police Department found the body of Aguilera in the river on October 19th.

The autopsy suggested Aguilera died from drowning and coroners said there were no signs of foul play.

Aguilera’s family says this is not something they ever imagined would happen to them.

No one ever does, so it's important to know what you should do if this happens to you.

A database families can use to find their missing loved ones is called the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs.

NamUs is a free online system that is searched by medical examiners, police departments, coroners and people from all over the country.

It is comprised of three databases the missing persons database, unidentified persons database and unclaimed persons database. People can search and enter information on any missing person countrywide.

The database provides many resources such as performing cross matching comparisons between the databases to find similarities in cases, free DNA testing and much more.


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