CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) — A missing persons group is joining the effort to help find Juana Arellano.
Now, Clinton Police are getting additional help. The Illinois State Police are helping with the search and so is the Missing Person Awareness Network.
MPAN founder Gia Wright started the group after her own dad disappeared for two weeks. She knows how important the first few days are after someone goes missing.
“Time is of the essence and the less information you have, the scarier that it is,” Wright said.
She immediately got to work after hearing about Arellano’s case. She also said that it is important that the community steps up and help look for her.
“Getting a group of people and doing searches with the community, with consent with law enforcement, making sure that everybody is safe and doing what you can to get the word out is absolutely critical,” Wright said.
Those searches have been going on for several days. A big group gathered on Monday less than 24 hours after Arellano disappeared.
Family members said she spoke with her husband around 10:30 p.m. saying that she was coming home, but never did. Video captured at Clinton Elementary School half an hour later shows someone that Clinton Police said could be her.
While they work to identify the person in the video, Wright is encouraging everyone in the Clinton area to check their security cameras and Ring door bells to see if anything looks suspicious.
She also said that anyone who doesn’t have a security camera or who isn’t in the Clinton area should still repost fliers and basic descriptions of Arellano to help get the word out.
“it is absolutely critical for all of these cases to be put out because, until they are found, you don’t know how serious it was,” Wright said.
She emphasized that anyone who finds something should go straight to Clinton Police and not social media.
“While people want to know a lot of things, you don’t want to put the missing person in danger or in any more danger than they already are,” Wright said.
Arellano’s family said there is now a reward fund set up at First Financial Bank for her safe return. Wright appealed to people directly to help bring Arellano home.
“I believe that if you know something, and there always is somebody that knows something, it is your responsibility as a human to say something,” Wright said.
Arellano’s family will be hosting a prayer vigil in downtown Clinton on Thursday and asks that anyone willing come show their support.