Authorities on missing woman in Chiracahuas: 'We can't rule out foul play'

Authorities on missing woman in Chiracahuas: 'We can't rule out foul play'

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After an exhaustive search for a missing and endangered woman in the Chiricahua Mountains with no answers, authorities are now investigating the possibility of foul play.

Janet Castrejon, 44, was reported missing the evening of June 19. She was last seen in a remote section of the Chiricahua National Monument near the Arizona-New Mexico border, an area that is no stranger to human trafficking and drug smuggling, according to the Cochise County Sheriff's Department.

"We're not focusing solely on the fact she may have just walked away," said Carol Capas, spokesperson for Cochise County Sheriff's Department. "We're looking into several possibilities that include the trail areas where smuggling is common. We can't rule out foul play."

Castrejon is partially blind and has the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. Her condition was caused by a traumatic brain injury sustained in a car accident when she was 18, from which she also suffered permanent memory loss.

She has difficulty speaking, and has no vision in one eye with limited sight in the other.

Castrejon and her parents are residents in Las Cruces, NM, where her father is a prominent family physician.

The three arrived at Rustler Park Campground in the Chiricahuas around 1:30 p.m. on June 19.

A few hours later, Castrejon and her mother left their RV and walked a short distance to the park's self-pay station, Capas said.

After making a payment, Castrejon's mother stopped at a nearby restroom.

Castrejon didn't need to use the facilities, so she told her mother she wanted to go back to the campground to meet her father.

She never made it.

During the next 72 hours, local, state and federal authorities searched for the missing woman by land, by air and with K-9 teams from several departments.

After finding nothing - no tracks, blood, or any other signs – most of the assets that were deployed were called back as of Monday, June 22.

Now, detectives are working to retrace their steps.

"Our search is not over," Capas said. "I can't stress that enough. If anything, we're expanding the area and doing everything we possibly can to find this person."

Castrejon is 5'3" tall, weighs 250 pounds and has long, black hair that she wears in a braid.

She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt with black lettering, blue jeans and white tennis shoes with a red stripe.

Family members have set up a community page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/findjanet, dedicated to sharing the most updated information regarding Castrejon.

Anyone who knows any information about what may have happened to Castrejon, or of her whereabouts, can call 911 or the Cochise County Sheriff's Department at 520-432-9500 or 800-362-0812.

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