Left: Angelica circa, 1985
Right: Age Progressed to age 33
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 14, 1985
Missing From: Temple, Bell County, Texas
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: February 5, 1974
Age: 11 years old
Height and Weight: 4’10” and 85 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic/Latin Female, Black hair, Brown eyes, Angelica has a mole on her nose, she is of Mexican descent
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black/white short sleeved pullover shirt with the brand name “SASSOON” imprinted on the front of the shirt, a pair of black shorts, white Bobby socks, and a pair of white sneakers
NCMEC Number: 601422
Details of Disappearance
Angelica was abducted from Temple, Texas on July 14th 1985. The girl had visited a friend that day and went to her grandmothers home which was just three blocks away from her residence located at 817 N. Sixth Street. Her parents, Olivia and Humberto Gandara, had gone to another relatives home that day but Angelica didn’t want to go so she decided to go to her grandmothers home instead. She was last seen walking down Houston Street in the vicinity of Second and Fourth Streets at approximately 5:30 pm.
According to a family friend, Angelica was just a block and a half away from her residence when a blue 1977 Chevrolet pickup truck stopped beside her. She was forced into the vehicle and was taken away. Angelica’s abductors were described as being a Caucasian male and female. She was last seen in the truck with them. The trucks hood, front fender, and bed were painted red and white. The door were blue and white and the top of the truck was painted white.
According to the family friend, the truck was dirty, battered, dented, and was in disrepair in general. She never arrived back at her residence and was reported missing as a result. Just the day before she was taken, a neighbor saw Angelica pushing her niece in a stroller up the street between her home and her grandmothers home. The neighbor stated that a blue car pulled up beside Angelica and the driver attempted to get her to accept a ride from them. She ignored them however and continued walking.
The car apparently circled the block once, slowed down next to the child again, and then drove away. According to her family, Angelica never mentioned this incident to them and they were unaware of it until after she went missing. It’s unknown if the person who stopped by her was indeed her abductor(s) but it’s considered highly unlikely that this incident wasn’t connected to the kidnapping.
Following Angelica’s abduction, there were multiple reported sightings of her in the San Antonio area of Texas in late July of 1985. Humberto went around handing out fliers featuring his missing daughter and gave one to a store clerk at a Shamrock convenience store in San Antonio. The woman stated she had seen the Angelica come into the store and shop during the previous week.
The clerk explained that the girl was driven in a vehicle by an unidentified man and dropped off at the store. The man would wait across the street in his car while the girl made her purchase inside the store. The child was described as being very tense, quiet, and never dallied while doing her business inside the store. The clerk emphasized that the man never came inside the store with the girl and that she was always alone.
After receiving the poster, the clerk waited for the girl to return to the store and one day she did. When the girl who the woman suspected to be Angelica came inside the store, she tried to delay the child by offering her a soft drink. When the clerk went to the phone in order to contact the police, the man walked across the street and rushed into the store. He grabbed the girl and told the clerk to not contact the police if “she knew what was good for her.” The man and the girl left.
The clerk was unable to get a good description of the man and he nor the child ever returned to the convenience store. Although the account hasn’t been officially confirmed, it’s strongly believed that the child seen was indeed Angelica and that she was kept alive for an extended period of time following her 1985 abduction. It was originally considered a possibility that she was taken across the border into Mexico and forced to become a prostitute but she is now believed to be deceased.
In 1997, investigators named Ramiro Rubi Ibarra as a possible suspect in Angelica’s disappearance. On March 6th 1987, Ramiro murdered sixteen year old Maria De La Paz Zuniga in Waco, Texas. She was babysitting her two young nephews in her home when Ibarra, a family acquaintance, came into the house and beat Maria. He then proceeded to rape her before strangling her with a yellow electrical cord. Maria’s brother came by the house to take her shopping and found her battered body.
Ramiro was arrested the same day that Maria’s body was found. When he was questioned, he had scratches on his face and torso. Skin that was recovered from underneath Maria’s fingernails were later identified as being from Ibarra. However, he was released from custody after a judge suppressed certain evidence which kept it from being presented and used against him.
However, nearly ten years later, a change in laws ruling the presentation of evidence allowed for the arrest and prosecution of Ibarra for Maria’s murder. He was arrested while living in Bell County, Texas on October 10th 1996. He was charged with her murder and was convicted of the crime altogether in 1997. He was sentenced to death for Maria’s murder and has been on death row since. It’s unclear why he’s a suspect in Angelica’s kidnapping but he remains a possible suspect nonetheless.
In 2007, investigators named David Elliot Penton as a possible suspect in Angelica’s abduction. He is a convicted child killer who has claimed more than five victims. In November of 1984, David killed his two month old son, Michael James Penton, by violently shaking him. He said he shook the child because he was angered by his non-stop crying. The crime occurred in Bell County, Texas.
David appealed his guilt in the death of his infant son and was free on bond when he fled. The outcome of his appeal was still pending when he evaded law enforcement. It’s believed that while David was on the run, he abducted and murdered several children.
Christi Lynn Meeks was just five years old when she was abducted from outside her mothers apartment complex in Mesquite, Texas on January 19th 1985 while she was playing hide n seek with her older brother. Her brother witnessed a man abduct his sister. Christi’s body was found in Lake Texoma three months after abduction. Meeks was raped and strangled to death.
Christie Diane Proctor was last seen in February of 1986. She was walking to her apartment in Dallas Texas at the time. She was presumably abducted while walking. Her skeletal remains were discovered in a field in Plano, Texas on April 9th 1988. She had been raped and strangled to death. She was ten years old when she vanished.
Roxann Hope Reyes was abducted near her apartment in Garland, Texas on November 3rd 1987. She was picking wildflowers for her mother when she was taken. Her body was found months later on May 19th 1988 in a vacant lot located in Murphy, Texas. She was raped and strangled to death as well. She was only four years old when she was abducted and slain.
Nydra Ross was reported as missing from her aunts home in Dayton, Ohio on March 31st 1988. She was presumed kidnapped until her remains were found in a dry creek bed in Marion, Ohio eight months later. Much like the other girls, Ross had been raped and strangled to death. She was nine years old at the time of her abduction and murder.
David was a family friend to Nydra and he was known to smoke crack and do other illegal narcotics with her family members. He was specifically acquainted with Ross’s aunt at the time she was taken and killed. He was charged with kidnapping and aggravated murder and was ultimately convicted of the crime years later in 1990. He was sentenced to life in prison for the case.
In June of 2003, Penton was indicted for capital murder in the deaths of Christi Meeks, Christie Proctor, and Roxann Reyes. He ultimately signed a plea deal in relation to the three murders and admitted to killing all three girls. He plead guilty to all three cases in January of 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison. He will remain imprisoned in Ohio until he finishes his sentence for the Ross murder and then he will serve his sentence for the Texas murders.
Investigators believe David is a serial killer and had many more victims besides the four girls and his son that he was convicted in. Multiple police agencies were alerted of David’s criminal history and he’s been named as a suspect in several cases of missing young girls.
David was also named as a person on interest in the case of Amber Nichole Crum. Crum was two years old when she disappeared from Dallas, Texas on December 26th 1983. She was last seen sitting inside the pickup truck of her mother’s boyfriend alone.
David has been named as a strong person of interest in the case of Ara Denise Johnson. Johnson was abducted from her bed in the mobile home she shared with her parents in the 300 block of Boulder Street on April 2nd 1986 in Big Sandy, Texas. She was five years old at the time of her disappearance. Penton was known to be in Texas at the time of her abduction. He allegedly mentioned her case to cellmate which has prompted investigators to look into his possible involvement in her case.
David was also named as a suspect in the presumed abduction of Shannon Marie Sherrill in 2009. Shannon was six years old when she disappeared from in front of her mothers mobile home on October 15th 1986 in Thorntown, Indiana. She was playing hide n seek with several other children when she mysteriously vanished without a trace. This is somewhat similar to how Christi Meeks vanished but there’s no evidence that Penton was involved in this case.
Investigators have not stated if they fully believe Angelica was a victim of David’s or another child killer. However, Penton allegedly admitted to being responsible for the cases of Amber, Ara, and Angelica. He hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing in any of the cases he’s been mentioned in.
Angelica’s family has searched relentlessly for her ever since her abduction in 1985 and they hope to find her. Her case remains unsolved and her abductors have never been located or identified.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Temple Police Department 254-770-5506