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Yesenia Nungaray.

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Yesenia Nungaray.

Post  AnnaEsse on Sun 6 Jun - 16:25

Yesenia left her village in Mexico for anew life in California on her 16th birthday. Just weeks later, she was dead, her body found in a black bag, dumped behind a restaurant. It took detectives nearly four years to find out who she was and to return her remains to her home to be buried.

The age and time frame fit, too. The woman's daughter left for
California in March 2003, on her 16th birthday. She went to stay with
Miguel Castaneda, who was a family friend. Within weeks her mother lost
contact with her, about the same time the body was discovered behind the

"It’s like, 'Oh my God, I’m gonna have to tell this lady exactly what
happened and what happened to her little baby,'" Dudek recalls. "Before I
even started to say anything, she just started to scream and shakin'
her head saying 'No, no, no.' It was brutal for me, there’s no other way
to describe it," he says.

A DNA sample from her mother would later confirm it: Jane's real name
was Yesenia Nungaray.

Four years after Yesenia's murder,
detectives finally know her tragic story. And it might never have
happened, without Gloria Nusse's sculpture.

"In this picture,
Yesenia is 15 years old. And what’s amazing is when you look at the side
view with the hair pulled back over the ear, on how close they look," Dow
points out, comparing a picture of Yesenia with the sculpture.

see a similarity in the shape of her jaw, I see a similarity in the
shape of her nose? It is her," Nusse remarks.

But Nusse's success
is bittersweet. "I am a mother, I have a daughter. Yesenia’s mother
must be so devastated to find out that her daughter is gone," she says.

On that tearful day in Mexico, Dudek made two promises to Yesenia’s
mother: to bring her daughter’s body back home, and to hunt down the
person who killed her. And he wants to start by finding Miguel

Yesenia's body was exhumed one last time to begin the
long journey home. Once again, Yesenia is given a police escort. The
detectives are taking her back to Mexico, where her mother, Maria, is

"It was a pretty sad day, you know. And you wanted to be
strong for the family. Because we viewed ourselves as her relatives
now," Dudek recalls.

Now there were two communities in mourning,
on either side of the border. Castro Valley raised money again, for a
funeral fit for a princess. And the townspeople of Yahualica showed
Maria they shared her grief.

"During the funeral, through the
procession, you walked all through the town where Yesenia grew up. What
was that like for you?" Dow asks Dudek.

"I had never
experienced anything like that. It was a proud experience. Everybody
came out and said goodbye to her as we walked by. And I think not only
did we bring closure to Maria and her family, I think we brought closure
almost to the whole town," Dudek says.

For Maria, it was a
devastating end to four years of trying to find out what had happened to
her little girl. "For me, she was very special. She was happy and she
liked flowers, stuffed animals. She used to get along well with people.
When she left she told me that she wanted to keep studying and working
because she was a very hard worker, from the time she was little, she
was a hard worker," her mother explained with the help of a translator.

knew her daughter's future was bleak in her poverty-stricken hometown.
So she reluctantly let her go to California, because Miguel Castaneda
promised to watch over her. And at first, things seemed to be going

"She told her mom her worst day in America was still
better than any day, you know, that she had in Mexico," Dudek explains.

the phone calls home suddenly stopped. Castaneda told Maria that
Yesenia had packed up and left. As the months went by, Maria knew
something was very wrong.

"She knew her daughter was somewhere in
the San Francisco Bay area," Dudek explains. "She did everything
possible she could do to try to contact people, she didn’t know who to


CBS News

"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)

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