LORAIN, Ohio -- A distraught family is looking for their missing daughter and getting help from a man who knows what it’s like to have a daughter disappear.
Felix DeJesus, father of Gina DeJesus who was rescued from a Cleveland home in May with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, joined the search efforts in Lorain Thursday night.
“It shakes me up again, and brings back the memories of those 9 years when my daughter went missing; it tears me inside,” said Felix.
Angeliz Medina-Rivera, 23, hasn’t been seen or heard from since May 29.
Her mother, Luz Medina, flew to Ohio from Puerto Rico to look for her daughter and file a missing persons report with the Lorain Police Department.
Through tears, Luz said, “She knows how much we love her and all I want to know is how she is, where she is.”
They are especially worried since the last time they spoke with Angeliz, she sounded distressed and was crying. Since then, they say her Facebook page is frozen and phone is turned off.
They have reason to suspect she was kidnapped and have received tips that she could be anywhere from Cleveland to Miami.
The uncertainty is upsetting, but Felix DeJesus tried to comfort them.
When Felix’s daughter Gina was rescued from inside a boarded-up home on Seymour Ave. with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, he promised then to help others, and he is standing true to his word.
“I told him of course I’ll be there with you. Any time you need my help, I’ll be out there,” said DeJesus.
He was joined Thursday night by Pastor Angel Arroyo from the Guardian Angels.
The two men canvassed neighborhoods passing out flyers with Angeliz’s picture and information, just like they did for Gina.
“I think what’s big about the girls being found is we’re gonna continue what we’ve been doing except now it’s getting a lot more publicity,” said Pastor Arroyo.
The men want to use that attention to raise awareness and change Ohio’s laws.
They want people living in homes with boards on the windows, like the house where his daughter was held captive, investigated by law enforcement.
But they especially want all missing persons handled with the same immediacy as small children.
“Maybe the Amber Alert didn’t go out as quickly for Amanda Berry because of certain requirements. If that’s true, what is it now we can look into so we can change the Amber Alert so alerts go out quicker?” said Pastor Arroyo.
“You get reported within an hour; you should be in the system, not wait a protocol 48 hours … none of that; we want that to happen now,” said DeJesus.
Rescuing others and protecting people is Felix’s new mission, but Thursday was about Angeliz and her family.
And for that, they’re very grateful.
“You know, as a mother, I know what he went through and his wife and his family and it's really tough, but I appreciate him to get involved and be here. I really appreciate it,” said Luz Medina struggling to speak through her tears.