LAS CRUCES — As many as 100 volunteers, including many friends and family members from Las Cruces, are expected to travel to southern Arizona this weekend and conduct a search for a 44-year-old Las Cruces woman who went missing in June while on a camping trip.
Janet Castrejon, who is partially blind and suffers from short-term memory loss, was last seen June 19 in Rustler Park, a campground in the Chiricahua Mountains, where her family planned to camp during Father’s Day weekend.
Castrejon’s father, Eduardo A. Castrejon, a family practice physician in Las Cruces, said Wednesday that family members are organizing a weekend search. As of Wednesday evening, Eduardo Castrejon said he expected between 50 and 100 people to participate in the search.
“There’s been a lot of response from community members,” he said. “For a lot people, prayer isn’t enough. People always ask me how they can help, so we thought a search would be good.”
Eduardo Castrejon said a majority of the volunteers are planning to leave for Arizona early Saturday morning. Once there, he said, the search party will conduct a three- to five-mile search of Rustler Park, focusing mainly on the two entrances into the park. The group plans to come back home sometime Sunday, he said.
Eduardo Castrejon said authorities are still pursuing leads, but have not had a break in the case.
Last week, Eduardo Castrejon said the family received a lead from a person in Alexandria, Louisiana, who said they had spotted Janet Castrejon at a local restaurant. The family traveled to Alexandria last Thursday, but later learned the woman was not Janet Castrejon.
“I was absolutely convinced it was her on the pictures we saw,” Eduardo Castrejon said. “But when we reviewed the surveillance footage, we concluded that it was not her.”
The false lead, however, has not deterred the family from continuing the search.
“There have been a couple of false sightings that have taken our family as far as Louisiana, (but) we will not give up hope that she will be found safe,” said Xochitl Castrejon, the missing woman’s sister. “We feel deep gratitude toward those that, in good faith, have provided us with tips, and we want to encourage everyone to please continue to keep an eye out in case someone comes across her.”
The family is offering a $20,000 reward for Janet Castrejon’s safe return. The reward is being funded through a Go Fund Me account.
Janet Castrejon is described as 5-feet, 2-inches tall. She weighs about 250 pounds and has long black hair. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt with black lettering, blue jeans and white shoes with red stripes. Those with information about her whereabouts are urged to call 911 or the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office at 520-432-9500 or 800-362-0812
Those who want to help with this weekend’s search are asked to call Eduardo Castrejon’s office at 575-524-9119.
Carlos Andres López can be reached at 575-541-5453.
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