Details of Disappearance Jose was born in El Salvador. His mother moved to the United States in the late 1980s, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. He lived in a remote village and never attended school.
In December 1993, Jose, his sister, his two brothers and his aunt were attempting to illegally enter the United States to join his mother. As part of a large group, they traveled 2,000 miles north to northern Mexico and crossed over in a remote desert area in southern California, near San Ysidro.
Just after everyone had slipped under the border fence, someone yelled "policia" and the group scattered, and Jose became separated from his family. After everyone had gotten together again, he was missing. The group's guides his family over the border took them to a safe house, then went back to search for the child. He has never been found.
According to his relatives, Jose does not know his date of birth or his last name, and he may not know his real first name, because everyone he knew addressed him by the nickname Paquito. Even the exact location of his disappearance is unclear.
Many people try to cross the U.S./Mexico border in remote desert areas to avoid detection, but the conditions are treacherous and migrants die of exposure every year. It's not clear if that happened to Jose, however.
Some agencies classify him as a runaway and state he may be in New York State. His case remains unsolved and American authorities are investigating.
- San Diego Police Department
Updated 9 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 2, 2016; age-progression updated.