Left and Center: Karen circa, 1996
Right: Age Progressed to age 28
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: January 11, 1996
Missing From: Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: October 15, 1988
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 3’5″ and 50 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic Female, Black hair, Brown eyes, Karen has a pea-sized mole behind one of her ears, her right upper front tooth was larger than the other and she was missing several baby teeth at the time of her 1996 disappearance, her ears are pierced, she is of Mexican descent and spoke both Spanish and English at the time she disappeared
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A faded purple/turquoise colored t-shirt with white letters on the front, multicolored pastel floral printed shorts, Guess? shoes, Karen was last known to be wearing a gold necklace in which the pendant said “Little Angel”, a ring with a red stone and another ring with the engraved letter of “K”
NCMEC Number: 813211
Details of Disappearance
Karen disappeared from Tucson, Arizona on January 11th 1996. She was seen roller skating and playing with her younger sister and some friends during the evening hours and was last reportedly seen when she returned to her apartment to return her skates and then went back out to play. She was never seen or heard from again.
Karen was discovered as missing when her mother called her inside for dinner at 6:30 pm. She was immediately reported missing. She was apparently sighted walking out of the apartments courtyard where she was playing at the time. None of her playmates saw or witnesses her disappearance and heard no sounds associated with a struggle.
Investigators believe Karen was abducted by a non family member. It’s possible that she was taken by an unidentified man seen in the area at the time of her presumed abduction. He is described as a Hispanic or Caucasian male with light brown colored hair and green/hazel eyes. He was approximately 30 to 46 years old in 1996 and stood at 5’6″ to 5’8″ and weighed about 170 pounds at the time. It’s possible he had facial hair or a mustache as well.
Investigators believe this man is also responsible for the 1994 abduction, rape, and murder of Esther Lizette Galaz. She was 6 years old when she was abducted from outside of her apartment in Tucson on December 20th 1994. She was found under a mattress in a ditch about a kilometer away from her home. She was beaten to death. Her murderer remains unidentified.
The two girls were both abducted under very similar circumstances and both vanished outside of their apartments on the south side of Tucson. They both disappeared at approximately 6:30 pm and during the holiday season. They were both apparently wearing similar outfits when they were kidnapped.
Investigators have also named Rodolfo Sedeno Morales as a possible suspect in Karen’s presumed abduction. He resided in the same apartment complex as Karen did in 1996. He is currently serving a prison sentence for the kidnappings and sexual assaults of 5 girls from the Tucson area. All the victims were Hispanic and were aged between 5 and 9 years of age. They were abducted in between the years of 1993 and 1994.
Morales has not been charged with Karen’s abduction and his wife even gave him an alibi for the time that Karen’s supposed abduction took place. Investigators are unsure of who actually abducted the child but believe it was the work of someone she didn’t know or wasn’t related too. Her family members were all cleared as suspects in the initial stages of her disappearance. Her father was known to be in Mexico at the time and her mother was also a native of Mexico.
At the time of her disappearance, Karen enjoyed rollerskating and playing Nintendo games. She was a 1st grade student at Elvira Elementary School and was learning to read, write, and sing when she disappeared. She has never been found and her abduction remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Tucson Police Department 520-791-4444
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
In memory of Cynteria Phillips
Esther Lizette Galaz – Find a Grave