Article: Anthonette Cayedito
9-year-old Anthonette Cayedito lived with her mother, Penny and her two sisters in an apartment in one of the poorest parts of Gallup, New Mexico. On the night of April 6 1986, Penny left the girls with a baby-sitter and went drinking at a local bar. She came back home around midnight, and let the girls stay up playing until 3am.
That night, Anthonette slept with her mother in her bed. But when Penny woke up at around 7am, she found that Anthonette was missing. At first, Penny thought Anthonette had gotten up early to look for a missing neighbour dog. None of her neighbors had seen Anthonette, however, and a search around the neighborhood turned up nothing.
And the authorities didn’t have much luck either, and the case would stay cold for more than a year until the Gallup police department received a short phone call from a girl who said that she was Anthonette. The girl claimed to be in Albuquerque, but before she could explain anything, someone in the background yelled, “Who said you could use the phone?” Suddenly, there was a scream and then the call ended. While the call was too short to trace, Penny did get to hear a recording of it. She confirmed that it was Anthonette’s voice.
In 1990, there was another development in Carson City, Nevada. A waitress reported seeing a girl who looked like Anthonette in the diner where she worked. The girl, who looked about 14-years-old, was eating with a man and woman who looked possibly homeless. The girl repeatedly dropped her fork onto the floor during her meal. Whenever the waitress would pick it back up, the girl would squeeze the waitress’s hand. After the trio left, the waitress noticed that the girl had left behind a note she had written on a napkin, “Please help me. Call the police.”
That same year, Anthonette’s younger sister, Wendy told investigators that Anthonette had been abducted. The night of her disappearance, a man knocked on the family’s front door and said that he was their Uncle Joe. Since Penny was sleeping, Anthonette decided to answer it. Two men, who Wendy didn’t recognize, grabbed Anthonette and carried her to a brown car as she kicked and screamed. Wendy said that she didn’t mention this when Anthonette first went missing because she was afraid it would upset her mother.
Anthonette did have an Uncle Joe but the authorities believed he had nothing to do with Anthonette’s disappearance. That didn’t rule the possibility that she was abducted by someone she knew though. Interestingly, Penny failed a lie detector test about her daughter’s disappearance, leading one detective at the Gallup Police Department to suspect that she knew who took Anthonette. There are also rumors, although unconfirmed, that Penny was somehow able to buy a new sports car a week after Anthonette went missing. Where Penny got this money to buy this car has never been explained.
In April 1999, Penny was really sick and near death so investigators wanted to get one last interview from her. She died before they could get the chance. Due to lack of reliable leads, Anthonette’s case was ultimately closed in June 2006.
Personally, I don’t think the few leads the police had were very trustworthy to begin with. The phone call part of the story is very strange. Why would Anthonette, a 10-year-old child, call up the police all the way in Gallup instead of dialing 911? Wendy’s account is also off. And say that Penny was involved in the disappearance. Could she and the kidnappers have plotted the phone call and Wendy’s account to mislead the investigation?
Then there’s the waitress sighting. Perhaps Anthonette had been sold off to this couple, but the police were not convinced that the girl the waitress saw was truly Anthonette. She might have been a different girl, or the waitress could have made the story up entirely. Looking these leads over, they are very weak. I can’t help but wonder if Penny knew more than she was willing to tell the police. Given that she died almost twenty years ago, we can only hope that someone will step forward soon or Wendy will remember something else to provide the crucial breakthrough for the police to reopen the case.