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Lehi • The uncle of a Provo woman who vanished two years ago asked on Friday for any bit of information, no matter how minor or seemingly unrelated to the disappearance, that could help lead to his missing niece.
"Please, help us find Elizabeth," Rosemberg Salgado said. "If you know anything, don't keep it to yourself."
The California man encouraged members of the Hispanic community to come forward regardless of their immigration status if they have a tip that could assist in finding Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado. He said Provo police want to find his now-28-year-old niece and are not concerned about anyone's legal status.
Salgado who described his niece as responsible and close to her family made his plea at a news conference.
He was joined by Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, who noted that Sunday is the two-year anniversary of Laguna-Salgado's disappearance and that no leads have panned out so far.
"The Salgados still have this open wound that will not go away," Smart said
The last known sighting of Laguna-Salgado was at about 1:30 p.m. on April 16, 2015, after she got out of class at the Nomen Global Language Center, 384 W. Center Street. Salgado said a classmate saw his niece go into a restroom but no one reported seeing her exit and security cameras do not show her leaving the building.
After that, she did not show up at class or her job as a waitress, and there was no activity on her cellphone or her credit cards. Investigators also were concerned because Laguna-Salgado typically was in touch were her family every day, but her loved ones heard nothing from her.
Within a month, Provo police received more than 100 tips about what might have happened to Laguna-Salgado and dedicated 3,500 hours investigating the disappearance.
All known sex offenders in the area, as well as Laguna-Salgado's current and former roommates and students and teachers at her school, were interviewed. Volunteers scoured the routes the young woman might have taken while walking from the school to her apartment at 1800 N. 450 West, which she shared with roommates.
About a week after the disappearance, Laguna-Salgado's relatives, police, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and others held a news conference asking for help finding the young woman. Those pleas were renewed a year ago, and the investigation has continued but the leads eventually dried up.
According to her relatives, Laguna-Salgado went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her native Mexico after getting a college degree and came to Utah to study English. At the time she disappeared, she had been in Provo for less than a month and had not yet learned the language.
Police said several months after the disappearance that they were investigating the case as a kidnapping but had not eliminated other possibilities.
Smart thinks Laguna-Salgado might have been abducted by sex traffickers. Salgado believes someone his niece knew could have offered her a ride, then taken off with her.
Neither man believes Laguna-Salgado left willingly. Both are surprised no one reported seeing her in the middle of the day on a busy stretch of road between her school and her apartment. And both believe she could return home.
"It happened to Elizabeth Smart," Salgado said. "I'm hoping the same miracle will happen to our family."
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 at age 14 and was held captive for nine months before police found her in Sandy. Her abductor, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a life sentence in federal prison for his crime.
Laguna-Salgado is described as about 5 feet 4 inches tall, about 125 pounds, with long black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a denim jacket, blue jeans, black or brown knee-high boots, and was carrying a denim handbag with red straps.
Anyone with information about Laguna-Salgado is asked to call Provo police at 801-852-6210.
'Disappeared' looks at Utah case
P Investigation Discovery is taking a look at the April 16, 2015, disappearance of Utahn Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado in its "Disappeared" series. The episode "On a Mission," which will run 7 p.m. Sunday on the Investigation Discovery channel includes interviews with Laguna-Salgado's relatives, a friend and a Provo Police Department detective.