Family’s search for missing woman’s body grows desperate in days ahead of trial


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The search continues for the body of Erika Gaytán who has been missing for over a year. On Saturday her family organized a search to look for her body in the desert of far east El Paso.

Erika’s mother, Guadalupe Gaytán, spent Saturday digging through the sand and crying out “Quiero encontrala”, which means ‘I want to find her’ in English.

“We’re looking for her because the trial of the guy is soon … who is in custody. And we don’t want him to have an opportunity and also because we are very desperate, we want to find the body,” (sic) Guadalupe Gaytán explained.

Guadalupe Gaytán was not alone in her search. About 50 El Pasoans showed up to help her in the search for her beloved daughter’s body.

“We don’t lose hope. That’s why we ask for people, and we are here. Honestly, I was not expecting a lot of people, and I’m very thankful right now that I came here because I think there’s still a lot of good people,” said Guadalupe Gaytan.

El Pasoans who say they don’t even know the family showed up wanting to help in some way.

“As a father, you think about those things, and you think about ‘what if it was your daughter’ and you’ve got to do something about it. You just can’t sit around and also, you know, bring closure to the community and her family, you know,” said Adrian Rangel, who came with his daughter to help the Gaytán family search the desert.

Those who came split up into groups of five and spread out. Half searched the Red Sands desert east of Montana while the other half went to search near the Hueco Tanks area. The groups were hoping to cover as much area as possible.

“Whether it be today or two months from now as long as we keep searching, if she’s out there, we’ll find her,” said Ricardo Lopez, who says he has gone out to look for Erika multiple times since she went missing.

Erika Gaytan was last seen on July 13, 2019, when she attended a concert at the El Paso County Coliseum with Ricardo Marquez. Police charged Marquez with murder, despite never having found Gaytán’s body. They allege a camera showed Marquez driving his brother’s Jeep eastbound in the 13900 block of Montana around 12:41 p.m. on the afternoon of July 14. He was then spotted driving back westbound in the 14900 block of Montana less than an hour later around 1:39 p.m. The family is using these surveillance videos to estimate where Marquez could have left Erika’s body.

Marquez is currently in custody at the El Paso County Detention Center. His trial is scheduled to begin in late October.

The search parties found nothing on Saturday. However, a Gaytán family friend tells KTSM another search is planned for next weekend.

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