UPDATE: Police say Metro Homicide team with bilingual officers w - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Police say Metro Homicide team with bilingual officers working case of missing Elkhart woman

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Anastasia Reyes-Cortez has two daughters, ages 9 and 6 Anastasia Reyes-Cortez has two daughters, ages 9 and 6
ELKHART - UPDATE: A five-man Metro Homicide team has been assigned to the missing woman case of Anastasia Reyes-Cortez, according to Elkhart City Police Investigations Division Capt. Kris Seymore. Police are still treating the investigation as a missing person's case. Detective Sgt. Steve Price, bilingual in English and Spanish, is heading the five-man squad. Two other bilingual officers are also assisting the team.



ORIGINAL STORY: Thirty-nine year-old Elkhart mother of two, Anastasia Reyes-Cortez, was first reported missing last Wednesday. She was last seen while grocery shopping last Tuesday morning at the Kroger on Hively Ave in Elkhart. 

Over the weekend, Wakarusa Police discovered her burned-out van, and now believe foul play is involved. 

"It's a dirty game the one they're trying to play," said neighbor Delia Vazquez about those responsible for the disappearance of Reyes-Cortez. Vazquez and others gathered at the Reyes-Cortez household to ask for anyone with tips to come forward and call Elkhart Police. 

"Many things, many ideas, but nothing's clear," said Reyes Cortez's husband Reveriano Ortega. "I have no idea. I don't know why, who, or how." Ortega says he hasn't slept since he first reported her missing last Wednesday. His family is undocumented and he says they have avoided hospitals and the police department until now. 

"We want to make sure that the police gives this case the adequate attention to be able to make sure that they find her," said Elkhart immigration lawyer Felipe Merino. He says he's worried what happened to Reyes-Cortez could reflect an increasing and alarming trend. 

"We've had reports that there have been other Latino women that have been accosted at other Mexican markets while doing their grocery shopping for the day," said Merino

He fears that undocumented Latino women are especially vulnerable to attack. That's because they don't understand English very well, if at all, and they often won't ask for help for fear of being deported.

"Today it was us," said Ortega. "Tomorrow it could happen to anyone."

Vazquez says during the past three months, neighbors have complained to her about being followed or approached by strange men. 

In most cases, while shopping at Mexican supermarkets. She says five women approached her this week alone. None of them went to the police. 

Neighbors also told us some of their calls to Elkhart Police have fallen on deaf ears, due to a lack of Spanish-language operators. 

Elkhart Police said those claims are false, but they would not provide us with the exact number of bilingual patrol officers and detectives. 

They also wouldn't disclose how many Spanish-speaking tips they've received. 

Police are asking anyone with more information to call 574-295-7076.
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