Left and Center: Grajeda, circa 1996; Right: Age-Progression to age 21 (circa 2010)
Karen Rosalba Grajeda
Missing since January 11, 1996 from Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Classification: Non Family Abduction
Circumstances of Disappearance
Grajeda was last seen playing outside of her apartment complex on West Valencia Street in Tucson, Arizona on January 11, 1996.
That area of Tuscon is in the predominantly Hispanic south side of Tucson.
Karen's mother spoke no English, and her father was in Guaymas, Mexico. After coming home from Elvira Elementary she spent the afternoon cleaning her room and playing Nintendo. She then went out roller skating with her sister and her friends in the courtyard of the apartment. At about 18.00, Karen brought her skates home and then went out to play again. Her mother called her for dinner at 18.30. Karen didn't answer. Her mother then went out to the courtyard to look for her.
She was gone. None of the other children still playing in the courtyard had seen anything. There were no signs of a struggle, no one had heard a scream or seen a stranger in the area.
Karen's mother called the police. Later, police and scores of volunteers combed the area and Karen's family held vigils, praying for her return home. Detectives questioned known child molesters and pedophiles in the area, and found no leads.
Police traveled to Mexico to interview Karen's father and quickly cleared him.
There were three other little girls from the South side of Tuscon who'd been abducted and molested between July 1993 and May 1994. In these earlier abductions the perpetrator had allowed the girls to escape, and they subsequently described the man to police. But, on December 14, 1999 another little Hispanic girl from the South side, six year old Esther Galaz, was kidnapped. A day after Esther was abducted, her body was found in a drainage ditch near her home.
The FBI believes these four abductions to be related to Karen's disappearance. They continue to investigate cases of serial rape and murder of little Hispanic girls in the Southwestern United States.
The suspect, Hispanic, 35-40 years old, 5 foot 8, 170 lbs.
Investigators Tucson Police Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Tucson Police Department
Local CAse Number: 601110569
NCMEC #: NCMC813211
NCIC Number: M-895818848 Source Information:
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
The Karen Rosalba Grajeda Story
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children