Police on Friday were searching for a 26-year-old woman whose family says she disappeared after leaving a Goodwill store in Reseda to smoke a cigarette.
Tarzana resident Maricela Garcia was last seen around 7 p.m. Thursday when she was browsing the store on Sherman Way with her younger sister and friends, according to her sister Sarah Garcia.
“I’m really terrified. I don’t even know what to think," Sarah said. "I have no idea.”
Maricela had told her she would be right back after stepping out for a cigarette, but that was the last Sarah has heard from her. When she tried calling Maricela, her phone was dead, Sarah said.
"So I was like, ‘OK, let’s not overreact,’ ” Sarah recalled. “I stood in the rain by her car for like — I don’t even know, I lost track of time — probably 30 or 40 minutes, waiting for her, and she didn’t come back.”
Maricela's purse and cigarettes were left in the car, while her keys, cell phone and ID were missing, Sarah said.
Officers who investigated the scene found no signs of a struggle, according to Los Angeles Police Lt. Kirk Kelley.
“It is odd that she walked away but we’re still investigating it, and what I’m saying is that there’s no evidence of foul play that we’ve determined at this time,” he said.
Kiana Jones, a friend of the sisters, said it was still uncharacteristic for Maricela to disappear without warning.
"I see her every day," Jones said. "She doesn’t just wander off by herself."
“She would never leave me alone," Sarah added. "I’m her younger sister. There’s no way.”
Maricela is described as being 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing around 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white top, dark jeans, a white beanie and black, high boots. Anyone with information on her whereabouts can call LAPD at 213-996-1800.