Oct 5, 2021 - News

More missing women raise consideration concerns

Portraits of Kelly Vazquez, Veronica Reyes-Diaz and Cieha Taylor.

Kelly Vazquez, Veronica Reyes-Diaz and Cieha Taylor. Photos courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

While Gaby Petito and Brian Laundrie have become national household names, several other women are still missing locally.

Why it matters: Family members of Kelly Vazquez, missing from Hillsborough County since May, have been trying to get the same traction for their daughter's case as Petito's.

  • But the world, it seems, is more fascinated with Laundrie being on the lam than finding other missing women.

What's happening: Vazquez, 21, was last seen on May 23 after saying she might go to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. She hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Point of intrigue: Vazquez and Petito's disappearances have several striking similarities.

  • Vazquez was also last seen with a man she was dating, with her family receiving mysterious messages from her phone.
  • Just as law enforcement combed through forests for Petito and later, Sarasota County swamplands for Laundrie, police were still searching for Vazquez in the woods of Keysville last weekend, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Vazquez's mother, Debbie Courville, told the Times she's been commenting on stories about Petito to try and get the same consideration for her daughter.

  • "I just don't understand why some cases get that kind of attention and others don’t," she told the Times.

There are more: Vazquez's family has also been posting to support the loved ones of two other missing Hillsborough County women.

Selene's thought bubble: We need to ask ourselves why Petito's case spread like wildfire through the news and social media, but cases like Vazquez, Reyes-Diaz and Taylor's don't.

  • Axios Tampa Bay has reported extensively on Petito and Laundrie, so we admit we're just as much a part of the problem. We thought Petito's case was too hard to ignore, but we should have still been covering other women who still need to be found.

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