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Jan 13, 2014 6:40 PM by Nathan O'Neal

State Department aware of Tucsonans missing in Mexico

TUCSON - Local and federal law enforcement agencies are following up on reports of two local men who apparently went missing in Mexico after a day-trip to visit family.
Erik Lorta and Manuel Castro traveled to Santa Cruz, Sonora, to visit Erik's mother Maria on January 8th. They were last seen as they were about to head back to Tucson that same day around 1p.m. No one has seen or heard from either of the men since. A spokesperson with the State Department told News 4 Tucson that they are aware of the missing persons reports.
Erik's aunt Margarita Coronado told News 4 Tucson that the two were eager to get back to Tucson because they both have young children.
"They stayed a little bit over there with my sister and my dad to visit the family over there, and they were coming back and we don't know anything about them," Margarita said.

Erik and Manuel were last seen driving a 2014 Black GMC Sierra Truck. Erik's cousin Arlene Vargas Lorta believes they may have been targeted because of the truck.

"It's a very extravagant car so we thought that t loser drug dealers or whatever probably saw the car and went after them and jumped them -- the problem is, where are they? We don't care about the car. Where are they?," Arlene told News 4 Tucson.

It's especially troubling considering that Mexican media reports that at least 22 murders have taken place in Sonora since the beginning of the New Year.

Erik's mother, Maria, is finding it hard to cope, pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

A Tucson Police Department spokesman said that there is no obvious sign of foul play at this time.

Still, Erik's girlfriend Yasmin Rosales clings on to hope.

"We have faith and we hope that they come back alive," Rosales said.

Local law enforcement agencies are following up on the reports. U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI are currently involved. Any information gathered domestically, will then be turned over to Mexican authorities.

If you have any information that might help law enforcement or the families locate the two missing me, please call 9-1-1.


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