San Benito County

Hollister Police issue missing person bulletin for Vanessa Flores

Flores is believed to be with homicide suspect Jose Barajas

Family of Hollister woman speaks out

HOLLISTER, Calif. - A Hollister woman who police said may be with her friend's suspected killer is still missing Tuesday. As the search intensifies, her family is begging for the public's help.

Vanessa Flores' friend, 19-year-old Ariana Zendejas, was shot and killed Friday night. The suspect, Jose Barajas, still nowhere to be found. Police believe Flores is with him.

On Tuesday, Flores' parents told News Channel 5 they believe Barajas took their daughter.

"To the kidnapper, please release my daughter. If you love her, give her the opportunity to return to her family," said Rocio Ibarra, Flores' mother.

For Flores' parents, the pain is almost too much to bare. They're hoping and praying they'll see their daughter again.

Tuesday was the first time Ibarra has broken her silence since her daughter disappeared Friday, the same day Zendejas was killed. Police don't believe Zendejas was involved in the events leading up to the shooting.

Barajas, who is still on the loose, is no stranger to Flores' family.

"I know there has been a lot of speculation about whether my daughter was a victim or a willing participant of the kidnapping," Ibarra said. "It is true my daughter dated the suspect for a brief period of time. However, after repeatedly being victimized through severe verbal and physical abuse, my daughter stood up for herself."

Ibarra said Flores broke off her relationship with Barajas. Ibarra said that could be why he took her.

"I am personally concerned for Vanessa's safety, for the community's safety," said Chief David Westrick of the Hollister Police Department. "This guy is still out here. He's armed and we consider him dangerous. He already killed one person. We want this to come to a conclusion that's good for the whole community."

Flores was getting ready for her first semester at Cabrillo College. Her mother hopes anyone who knows where she is will come forward.

"We are here wondering where she is, praying every night for her safe return," she said.

To report a tip anonymously, call 1-800-78-CRIME.

Hollister police have posted a missing person bulletin for Flores on their website.

That bulletin is as follows:

"Vanessa was last seen with homicide suspect, Jose Antonio Barajas on the evening of 8/1/14.  Vanessa is described as 5'2", 130 lbs. black hair, brown eyes, with a light complexion.

Vanessa was last seen in the area of Tres Pinos after being picked up with suspect Barajas by an unknown female driving a small to mid-sized grey or silver SUV, possibly a KIA.

Suspect Barajas should be considered armed and dangerous and it is assumed he is possibly holding Vanessa against her will.

If she is seen please call 911 and report it to your local law enforcement agency.

Local, regional and national BOL's made for this missing person."

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