Details of Disappearance
One of Maria's friends reported her missing on March 22, 1976. She missed a doctor's appointment that same day. Maria's husband, Hernan Reyes, said she had packed her belongings into two suitcases and left their house in the 1100 block of Ringwood Avenue in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey on March 19.
However, investigators have questioned her physical ability to do that, given her state of health. Her best friend stated she could barely walk unaided, never mind carry two suitcases.
Maria and Hernan, who had no children, were in the process of a divorce in 1976. Maria had left her husband in 1974 and returned to their native Chile, but went back to the United States in early 1976.
Hernan reportedly did not want to care for his wife during her illness or pay her medical bills. He filed for divorce in January 1976, citing their previous separation. Maria contested the divorce and Hernan amended his filing to include desertion.
The divorce was finalized in 1978, two years after Maria went missing. Hernan remarried and, in 1981, he sold the home he shared with Maria and moved away. He is now deceased and was never charged in her case, but his second wife is still alive and living in Florida.
She was questioned by police and says she knows nothing about Maria's disappearance. In 1989 authorities dug up the patio at Reyeses' former residence to look for Maria's body. Some bones were found, but they turned out to be animal bones.
Maria has relatives living in Chile, but they have not heard from her since 1976, nor has she re-entered that country since then. Her neighbors describe her as a quiet, almost reclusive woman. Her case remains unsolved.