Police ask community to be kind on social media, help search for Lucian and be supportive of the family.
YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima Police Department detectives continue to investigate the disappearance of 4-year-old Lucian Munguia, but despite getting about five new tips a day, they still have no clues as to his whereabouts.
According to the family, Lucian’s mother, Sandra Munguia, was at work when her husband and Lucian’s father, Juan Munguia, took their three young children to play at Sarg Hubbard Park the evening of Saturday, Sept. 10.
Juan reportedly pulled into the park, drove up the road to the upper parking lot and parked near the playground; 4-year-old Lucian and his 6-year-old brother got out of the car to play, while Juan went around to get his 2-year-old daughter out of the car.
Sandra told KAPP-KVEW at that point, her husband realized the little girl needed a diaper change and he proceeded to change the diaper in the car while his sons played close by.
However, Sandra said it wasn’t long before Juan was finished changing the diaper, walked the short distance to where the boys had been playing and didn’t see Lucian.
“Within a minute, just a blink of an eye, he was gone,” Sandra told KAPP-KVEW in an interview Sept. 13. She said when Juan was unable to find Lucian in the area around the playground, he called 911.
Despite rumors, speculation and unfounded theories circulating social media platforms, police have repeatedly stated there is no evidence of foul play in connection with Lucian’s disappearance.
However, many of the negative comments on social media target Lucian’s family members, who have been interviewed by police and are in close contact with detectives working on the case.
“For this family, this is the hardest moment they have ever had to deal with,” Yakima Police Department public information officer Yvette Inzunza told KAPP-KVEW on Wednesday, Sept. 21. “So we do ask that the community be supportive of the family.”
Inzunza confirmed that even after more than a week of Lucian being missing and detectives working on the case non-stop, there have been no new updates providing any evidence of foul play.
Some people on social media have asked about the video police mentioned in connection with Lucian’s case and why it has not been released to the public. When Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray was asked about the video during an interview on Tuesday, Sept. 13, this was the response he provided to reporters:
“So, one thing we never do in law enforcement is talk about evidence and when I say the word evidence, that doesn’t mean there’s a crime, but we have to be open to the possibility that anything could happen. As I said, over and over yesterday, and I will repeat it again today, nothing leads us to believe there was any foul play in this situation, but we always have to be open for the possibility that something could happen that would change the course of our investigation, so it would be inappropriate for me to talk about specific things that we know. What I can tell you is there is video — I’m not gonna talk about where it came from or where it was — that shows Lucian leaving the park in a southeast direction by himself. I can tell you that it is true. So could something else have happened after that? Of course, I can’t tell you definitively, ‘This absolutely did happen’ or ‘This didn’t happen.’ What I can tell you is the evidence we have seen — and nothing else — leads us to, he left the park by himself. That’s what we know for a fact. What happened after that? Well, we may still have to find but we’ve had detectives scouring this entire area, looking for people with video, businesses with video, homes with video and we found some and so what I can tell you is we, again, we know things that the public doesn’t know and we can’t necessarily share them. That’s not because I don’t want to be transparent, but that’s our job and our job is also to protect the information we have and to pass along what we can and then to ask folks to give us grace to do our job and do it right. That’s the professionals we are and we have to maintain the integrity of this entire case regardless of what happens today.”
In another interview with KAPP-KVEW, just the day before, on Monday, Sept. 12, Murray asked the community to be careful about their comments and to be kind to the family, saying:
“These folks are going through a nightmare, you know? They’re having a situation that no one would ever want to face, so I would just ask the community to be kind, including on social media. Don’t push send if it’s mean. There’s no point, right? We don’t need to be doing that right now. I think we should be known for a community that supports one another and our goal and their goal is to find this child, right? Today is not the day to blame or to try to make people feel bad. What we’re trying to do is come to a successful conclusion. I hope that’s the kind of community we are and certainly the kind of police department that we are, so I would ask folks to think about that.”
Family members continue to search the area, rarely sleeping more than a handful of hours a night. They’re missing work and school and most other obligations that don’t have to do with finding Lucian.
Trained search and rescue teams were pulled back after a few days with no sign of the little boy, despite a record response from law enforcement agencies across the state.
That left the family on their own to coordinate search efforts, but not without support, as community members poured in to help look for Lucian. However, as the search continues on, day after day, the family said volunteer support is dwindling.
Over the weekend, there was one day where they didn’t have a single new person come to join the search. Family members said they’re incredibly grateful for everything the community’s done so far, but they’re pleading for that assistance to continue.
Anyone wanting to contact the family with non-urgent tips or suggestions for search locations can email [email protected].
They’re asking for volunteers to help search, pick up missing child flyers from Sarg Hubbard Park to spread across town or print off their own copies to share wherever they’re located.
“We want as much of the community’s help as we can have,” Inzunza said. “If you have information, please provide it to us.”
The Yakima Police Department continues to receive tips called into 911, to their main office or emailed to [email protected]. They’re also getting tips passed on to them from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and Yakima County Crime Stoppers.
Inzunza said they’re asking people to check for any photos or videos they may have taken at or near Sarg Hubbard Park in the evening hours of Saturday, Sep. 1o and to send anything they may find to [email protected].
THE SEARCH FOR LUCIAN MUNGUIA ON YAKTRINEWS.COM:
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