CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) – Police have ended their search for a missing Clinton woman. They said she left on her own, but her family thinks police are wrong – and they want answers.
32-year-old Juana Arellano disappeared Sunday night. Thursday afternoon, Clinton police announced they closed the case on the mother of three.
Thursday evening, we reported that Arellano’s sister-in-law posted on social media that she was “fine.” But other family members told us there was a miscommunication, and that’s not true. They said she wouldn’t have left her young daughters without saying something, and that’s why they feel something is still wrong.
“She [Mariela Arellano] doesn’t feel that she’s safe because it’s been so many days and she hasn’t communicated, not even to her daughters,” Maria Magana said on behalf of Juana Arellano’s sister, Mariela Arellano.
Arellano’s sister said her family was called down to the police department the same afternoon the investigation was closed – four days after Arellano left home. She said police told them they had “good news.”
“That they found her alive… that they found a video that was her,” she said.
She said police showed them a video of Arellano getting into a small, grey car the night she disappeared. There was a man behind the wheel and a woman in the passenger seat, but she said they didn’t recognize them. Even though Arellano’s family still hasn’t heard from her, police ended their investigation. They said in a news release that Arellano left voluntarily and they had no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
“If for some reason there was a struggle or something then that would’ve been different,” Magana said.
She wants people to understand they still don’t know where their loved one is.
“Everybody assumed that – okay, she’s back home even though we have people calling, ‘oh she’s back already?’ No, she’s not back already,” she said.
Arellano has three daughters, all under the age of 14. Her family said they haven’t told the girls much because they don’t want to worry them, but at some point, they know they’ll have to.
“They need their mom. I mean, they need their mom,” she said.
She said they plan to hire a private investigator and keep searching until they find Arellano.
The family said police told them they will not be sharing the video of Arellano getting into the car. We reached out to Clinton police and have not gotten a response yet. Yesterday, police shared surveillance video of someone running across the lawn outside of Clinton Elementary School, and Arellano’s family confirmed it is her. It was taken around 11 p.m. Sunday night, about two hours after she was last seen.
Juana Arellano is 32 years old. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Her family said she was last seen wearing black leggings and a brown exercise shirt. They encourage anyone with information to reach out.