Details of Disappearance Viridiana was last seen on October 11, 2007 in North Charleston, South Carolina. She finished a shift at her job at the La Nortena restaurant on Rivers Avenue, then stopped at her apartment at Merritt Summit Place Apartments at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. and changed her shirt, but left on the pants she'd worn at work.
She shared the apartment with her children, her mother and her sister. Viridiana told them she was going out with her sister-in-law, Vicky Roberts. She has never been seen again.
Between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. the next morning, Viridiana's family received text messages saying she was drinking downtown with someone named Miguel. Later messages said she wasn't feeling well and that she was going back to Mexico. There has been no activity on Viridiana's cellular phone since then.
When questioned, Roberts said she was not with Viridiana on the night of her disappearance and in fact they hadn't seen each other for two weeks. She said she doesn't know why Viridiana would say they were together.
On October 17, a person closed Viridiana's bank account by telephone. A cashier's check for the balance of the account, about $1,000, was sent to Tacoma, Washington, where Viridiana used to live with her estranged husband, Jorge Maldonado. Viridiana married Jorge in 2005, but they separated and she moved to North Carolina about a month before her disappearance.
Investigators do not believe Viridiana left of her own accord. Her family says she did not normally communicate with text messages, she did ask about her two young children in the messages, she did not take any belongings with her when she left, and her family does not know anyone named Miguel. In October 2008, investigators named Jorge as a suspect in Viridiana's disappearance.
The couple had had a rocky relationship with at least three domestic violence incidents resulting in arrest. Authorities tracked Jorge's whereabouts through cellular phone records, and they know he made a trip to Charleston just days before Viridiana disappeared. He spoke to Viridiana and their son the night before her disappearance. Six days later, Jorge took their son and returned to Washington. Using the phone records, police determined it was Jorge who had closed Viridiana's bank account and taken the money.
Jorge moved to the Dominican Republic after Viridiana's disappearance, and entered into a custody battle with her family over their son. In November 2008, he traveled to the United States for a custody hearing and was arrested on federal drug charges immediately after arrival in the country.
He is currently incarcerated. His sister was given custody of Jorge and Viridiana's son, and Viridiana's mother was granted visitation rights. Jorge hasn't faced any charges in connection with his wife's disappearance.
Although little information is available as to Viridiana's fate, foul play is suspected in her case. Her case remains unsolved.
- North Charleston Police Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 28, 2008; details of disappearance updated.