This segment of unsolved mysteries was aired on August 28, 2001, several months after the kidnapping. Jacqueline’s case was also aired on America’s Most Wanted (web exclusive.)
Photo of Jacqueline Castaneda taken shortly before she was kidnapped
Birth name: Jacqueline Castaneda-Vasquez
Location of incident: Avondale, Phoenix, Arizona
Date of birth: January 14, 2001
Date of abduction: May 6, 2001
Other: She is described as a Caucasian/Hispanic female with brown hair and brown eyes and a heart-shaped birthmark on her upper arm. On the day the baby was kidnapped, she was wearing a white outfit and was strapped into a green and white car seat. She would be 12-years-old (and turning thirteen in a couple of months.)
Short description of abduction: Jacqueline Vasquez was just a baby when she was last seen at a swap meet located on 12300 West Buckeye Road located in Avondale, AZ. At the time of her disappearance, Jacqueline was wearing a white outfit and was strapped into a white and green car-seat carrier. She has a heart-shaped birthmark on her upper right arm.
According to police, the baby’s father dropped off Vasquez and her family at the event Sunday morning. An older family member ran a booth at the meet. Despite leads from the local community, Jacqueline has not been seen since she disappeared. Police have no suspect’s, but they would like to speak to the woman in this sketch
Full story: In May of 2001, Olivia Castaneda arrived at a swap meet outside Phoenix, Arizona, with two of her three children, Niely Castaneda who was just a toddler, and Jacqueline Castaneda who was 4-months-old going on 5-months, and the children’s grandmother (a.k.a Olivia’s mother)
“My husband dropped me off there with my two babies, my two year-old Niely, and Jacqueline, my four month-old baby. I took Jacqueline out of the car with her car seat, and Niely, I took her walking.”
Before meeting her mother inside, Olivia needed to use the rest room. She finally found a portable bathroom. Finding it too cramped and dirty, she made a decision that would lead to tragedy:
“Jacqueline couldn’t fit inside, so I just took my two year-old, Niely, inside the rest room ’cause she could have walked away if I left her outside. I was in the rest room, like, for a minute, when I came out, Jacqueline wasn’t there anymore.”
Hoping that her mother had taken the baby, Olivia rushed into the swap meet:
“I felt more upset and more nervous when I saw my mom was by herself. She didn’t have the baby. And that’s when I felt I was going to die. I mean, I just–I didn’t know what to do.”
After 20 minutes of searching booth to booth, the police were called. According to Sgt. Mark Lucas of the Avondale Police Department, they immediately sealed off the swap meet:
“There was an officer stationed at all the exits and along the fence line. And as cars were leaving, we would check the vehicles as they left. As people were leaving the side exits through the gates, we would go ahead and check them, make sure they weren’t carrying an infant or had a car-carrier.”
Witnesses reported a suspicious woman lurking around the rest-room shortly before the kidnapping and a vehicle speeding away moments after the incident. The vehicle is described as a red, full-size, (possibly Ford) Pick up truck. According to the website “25missingpersons,” authorities have not yet connected the vehicle to the abduction.
To see a small composite sketch photo of the unknown suspect please click: Charley Project.
Witnesses description of the woman matched and a sketch of the woman was made, but she has yet to be identified.
But despite police standing by exits, the baby was never rescued and her family remains heartbroken.
Many people have had their own theories and assumptions, one being, that the kidnapper was a female who couldn’t have children of her own and desperately wanted a child and jumped at the first opportunity to steal another mother’s baby to raise as her own. Police list her possible locations as “National” however, she could be ANYWHERE and authorities are hoping that somebody is alert and recognizes the child who will be turning thirteen on January 14, 2013. The most identifying characteristic is the heart-shaped birthmark on her arm.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children came out with an age-progressed photo of what Jacqueline might of looked like at age 6, today, she would be 12-years-old.
Age-progressed photo of what Jacqueline might of looked like as a younger child
If you have any information regarding this case, you are urged to contact: Avondale Police Department (Arizona) – 1-623-932-3660 Or leave a tip by calling: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 1-800-THE-LOST — Other options: Contact the nearest FBI Office NCIC #M-321554928
For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate NCIC #M-321554928
Or leave an anonymous tip by going to Unsolved Mysteries Official Site.