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Mariel and her brother Luis disappeared from a home in the 290 block of Lang Ford Avenue in Arvin, California at 10:00 p.m. on September 11, 2011. The next evening, their 27-year-old mother, Mariela Mendizabal, was found dead at the same address. She had been stabbed in the neck.
Authorities believe Mendizabal was murdered by Maico Lopez, her boyfriend and the children's father. Luis and Mariel were seen with him on public transportation in Los Angeles the morning after the murder. A photograph of Lopez is posted below this case summary. Investigators think he took the children to Mexico. He is wanted for homicide and for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Mendizabal and Lopez had lived at the Lang Ford Avenue home for several years, but about a month before her death the couple separated and Mendizabal moved elsewhere with the children. A neighbor said Mendizabal was worried about Lopez's mental state and thought he might harm himself.
Due to the circumstances of their abduction, the children are considered to be endangered. Their whereabouts are unknown and their cases remain unsolved.
Date of Birth: October 21, 1975
Age at disappearance: 35 years old
Height and weight : 5'6, 160 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic male. Black hair, brown eyes. Lopez may use the last name Encarnacion. His nickname is Michael.
Federal Bureau of Investigation