Angelica Maria Gandara

Angelica, circa 1985; Age-progression at age 33 (circa 2007); David Elliot Penton, circa 2007; Ramiro Rubi Ibarra

  • Missing Since 07/14/1985
  • Missing From Temple, Texas
  • Classification Non-Family Abduction
  • Sex Female
  • Race Hispanic
  • Date of Birth 02/05/1974 (45)
  • Age 11 years old
  • Height and Weight 4'10, 85 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black and white short-sleeved pullover shirt with the word "SASSOON" printed across the front, black shorts, white bobby socks and white sneakers.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Hispanic female. Black hair, brown eyes. Angelica has a mole on her nose. She is of Mexican descent.

Details of Disappearance

The last confirmed sighting of Angelica was in her hometown of Temple, Texas between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on July 14, 1985. She was seen inside a 1977 Chevrolet pickup truck, accompanied by an unidentified Caucasian male and female.

The witness told authorities that the truck's hood, front fender and bed were painted red and white. The doors were blue and white and the top of the truck was painted white. According to the witness, the vehicle was dirty, dented and in general disrepair. Angelica was sighted in the truck approximately two blocks from her grandmother's residence in Temple. She had been walking back to her family's home at the time she disappeared. She has never been seen again.

Angelica lived in the 800 block of north 6th Street in Temple at the time of her disappearance. A neighbor reported having seen her the day before her disappearance, pushing her niece in a stroller up the street between her grandmother's house and her own home.

The neighbor stated someone driving a blue car pulled up alongside Angelica and the driver attempted to get her to accept a ride. Angelica kept walking, and the car circled the block, slowed down alongside the child again, then drove away. She never said anything about the incident to her family. She disappeared the next day.

A clark at a Shamrock convenience store in San Antonio, Texas reported seeing Angelica on several occasions in late July 1985, after her disappearance. San Antonio is about 150 miles south of Temple.

The clerk said the girl who resembled Angelica would always get dropped off at the store by a man in a car and would go inside the store alone while the driver and car waited across the street. The girl was always very quiet and seemed to be tense and in a hurry when she made her purchases.

After learning about Angelica's disappearance, the clerk tried to delay the girl the next time she came into the store by offering her a drink, then going to the phone to call police. But at that point the girl's driver got out of the car, went inside, grabbed the girl and told the clerk not to say anything. The clerk was unable to describe the man and this account has not been confirmed.

In 2007, authorities announced they considered David Elliot Penton a person of interest in Angelica's disappearance and in the disappearances and murders of several other young girls, including Amber Crum and Ara Johnson. A photograph of Penton is posted below this case summary. He is has been incarcerated in an Ohio prison since 1987. He also signed a plea agreement admitting to the murders of three girls in Texas.

The Texas victims disappeared over a period of 18 months in the Dallas area, and ranged in age from 4 to 9 years old. Penton was also convicted of manslaughter in the child abuse death of his own infant son in 1984; he fled while free on bond pending the outcome of his appeal, and remained at large until 1987, when he was charged with the murder of a friend's 9-year-old niece in Ohio. He was later convicted of this crime.

Penton's cellmates went to investigators and claimed he had implicated himself in the disappearances of Ara, Amber and Angelica. He has not been charged in connection with any of these disappearances, however.

Ramiro Rubi Ibarra is another possible suspect in Angelica's case. In 1997, he was convicted of the 1987 rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl from Waco, Texas. Ibarra, an acquaintance of the victim's family, broke into her home and killed her. He was sentenced to death and is still awaiting execution. Authorities have been unable to link him to Angelica, however. A photo of Ibarra is posted with this case summary.

Angelica lived in the 800 block of north 6th Street at the time of her disappearance. Her disappearance remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected.

Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 26, 2017; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.