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News Release

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Media Relations

52-Year-Old Critical Missing Woman NR12205bb

                             May 6, 2012

Margarita Stephens has been located and is home safely with her family.
Los Angeles:   The family and friends of Margarita Stephens and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Foothill Division are asking for the public’s help to locate Stephens.

On May 4, 2012, friends became concerned and contacted the police to conduct a welfare check as they had not seen or heard from Stephens for the past three days.  Friends reported that Stephens’ phone, which she normally always answered, went straight to voicemail which was concerning.  Additionally, Stephens had not reported to work for the past week.  Given these unusual circumstances, Stephens’ friends feared for her safety and felt Stephens was in grave danger.

Foothill officers conducted a welfare check at Stephens’ residence in the 10200 block of Samoa Avenue in the city of Tujunga, and were unable to locate Stephens or her son.  Stephens was last seen by the apartment manager on Thursday, May 3, 2012 between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Stephens’ vehicle was also missing.

Upon further investigation, detectives discovered that Stephens’ son, Jose Perez, had a past history of mental illness and threatening his mother.  Perez had recently been arrested and convicted for criminal threats against Stephens, and he had just been released from a mental facility a week prior for these charges.

Investigators have obtained evidence from Stephens’ phone-locator that indicated on May 3, 2012, at around 9 p.m., Stephens and Perez may have been traveling in the area of Angeles Crest Highway in the city of La Cresenta.  Given these disturbing circumstances, investigators fear Stephens may have been taken against her will by Perez.

Stephens and Perez may be driving in her silver color 2009 Toyota Corolla 4-door, license number 6HDR215.

Stephens is described as a female Puerto Rican with black hair, brown eyes, and stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds with an average build, and medium complexion.  She has a tattoo of a bracelet on her right ankle.

Jose Perez is described as a 28-year-old male Puerto Rican with black hair, brown eyes, stands about 6 feet tall, and weighs 210 pounds.