Destinee Cruz is reported missing in Mexico. Here she was photographed at Maricopa High School in 2018. Photo by Michelle Chance

A Maricopa High School student went missing overnight Sunday in a Mexican border town.

Destinee Cruz, 17, was last seen getting into a vehicle in Ciudad Juárez, according to Ivette Noriega, a family friend. Her mother, Teresa Cruz, is desperately searching for her daughter, Noriega said.

Destinee Cruz Missing Person
Destinee Cruz, a Maricopa High School student, is missing in a Mexico border town, her family says.

Destinee had recently returned to Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, to wait out COVID-19, said Noriega, adding the girl is a U.S. citizen.

According to the family, closed circuit TV cameras captured Destinee getting into a black Chevrolet Spark vehicle, which may have been an Uber, at 3:43 a.m. Sunday in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, where her mother lives. An Amber Alert has been issued in the city and the family is hoping an alert will go out in El Paso.

There were no signs of conflict or dispute before she left and she took her high school books and computer, according to Noriega, a postdoctoral scholar at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Destinee is 5-foot-4, 150 pounds, with a light brown complexion with straight brown hair and brown eyes, according to the Women’s Prosecutor’s Office in Chihuahua.

According to an October 2018 report on, Destinee was born in Arizona and moved with her family at a young age to Mexico, where she spent the next 13 years. A report on state legislators arguing to kill desegregation funding in the Maricopa Unified School District highlighted Destinee as an example of a U.S. citizen returning to the States with multiple obstacles in the classroom, including navigating her favorite subjects in a different language. “I came back to study English,” she said.

The family asked that any Maricopa residents who may information on Destinee’s whereabouts call 656-338-2542.