Damaris Alexandra Reyes, age 15, of Gaithersburg, was reported missing from her residence by her mother on December 10, 2016. A missing person police report was written by Montgomery County Police. As is standard practice in all missing person cases, Damaris was entered as a missing person in a national website (the National Crime Information Center – NCIC), available to law enforcement throughout the country. Her information and photograph were also placed on an internal Montgomery County Police website that is updated daily and reviewed by officers and other police department employees.
Detectives from the Special Victims Investigations Division, who investigate reports of missing juveniles, began an investigation into the whereabouts of Reyes. Investigators spoke with Damaris’ mother, who told detectives that in the past, Damaris had left home for periods of time and did not attend school while she was gone. Damaris’ mother had reported her daughter missing once during this period – on November 21, 2016. At that time a police report and investigation were conducted by Montgomery County Police. Damaris returned home approximately eight days after she left. While she was gone, Damaris remained in contact with her mother.
Due to Damaris’ behavior, her mother made plans to have her daughter live out-of-state with a family member. Damaris learned of this arrangement and left home again on December 10.
During this investigation, in an effort to locate her, detectives contacted Montgomery County Public School officials and contacted her friends and acquaintances. They also monitored Damaris’ social media account, her cell phone, and conducted surveillance of areas she was believed to frequent.
Detectives created a missing person flyer that included Damaris’ photograph and physical description. The flyers were distributed in Gaithersburg and areas within Fairfax County. These flyers were also posted on Damaris’ and her mother’s social media accounts by her mother. Detectives continued to communicate and work with Damaris’ mother throughout the course of the investigation to try and gain additional information regarding her daughter’s location.
Into January, Damaris contacted her mother several times using social media. Via social media, Damaris told her mother that she was unharmed, not in danger, and that she did not want to return home.
In mid-January, Fairfax County detectives notified Montgomery County investigators that they believed Damaris might be in the company of gang members in their jurisdiction. At that time, detectives from both jurisdictions coordinated investigative steps and continued working together until her death was confirmed on Monday, February 13.
Montgomery County detectives continue to remain in regular contact with Damaris’ mother and continue to work with Fairfax County investigators on this case.
Investigators are reviewing steps taken in this case as well as police department practices regarding critical missing persons.
No additional information can be released at this time due to the on-going homicide investigation in Fairfax County.