PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5 ) - Monica Chavez is a name you may not have heard before, because her case hasn't had the spotlight. But she's a mom of five kids, who's been missing for nearly three years. Her family is pleading for answers and authorities say her disappearance is suspicious.
Chavez' oldest child is 14 and her youngest is just 4 years old. Her family admits she had been living a tough lifestyle for just under a year before she went missing, but they heard from her every single day. Now, not a word for almost three years.
"How much media attention has there been on this?" asked reporter Briana Whitney. "There hasn't been any. Any,” said Jennie Benitez, Chavez’ mom.
Her case fell under the radar when it came to the media spotlight, but it's been all her family has thought about since Jan. 3 of 2019. "When she got involved with the fentanyl pills, that's when she just lost everything. Everything,” Benitez said.
Her mom and sister, Cynthia Chavez, admitted Monica had lost her way in the months leading up to her disappearance. She had an addiction and was sleeping with men for money to afford staying in different hotels and motels. But even living a challenging lifestyle, she was open with her family, admitted she needed help, and talked to them all the time. "Not one birthday did she miss, not one Christmas, not one holiday," said Cynthia.
"Always stayed in contact with me. Every day I heard from her. We never lost contact with her," her mom said. Until Jan. 3, 2019, when she was last seen walking away from the EZ Inn Motel near 23rd Avenue and Thomas Road.
"She had purchased a phone and left it there with one of the employees and said she was going to come back for it. She never returned back for it. According to her phone records, she was supposed to meet up with somebody that was coming out from Tucson. When the gentleman got her, she was in contact with him, according to the records on her phone. But once he got here to Phoenix, there was no response back from her. When he said, 'Hey Monica, I'm here. Where do I pick you up at? Where are we meeting?' No response. He kept on texting and nothing. From that time on, we haven't heard anything from her," Benitez said.
Tips have gone cold. Her mom said that the Tucson man and several others have been investigated and cleared. Detectives need something new to piece together what happened to Monica.
"Do you think she could still be alive?" asked Whitney. "I pray every day for that. I'm not going to give up hope. But we need answers," her mom said.
The kids are now being cared for by both grandmas and are safe and healthy but asking questions about their mom. Her family suspects human trafficking could be involved. If you have any information on Monica Chavez' whereabouts, please call the Phoenix Police Department.