Monday July 15th, 2024 1:50PM

Hall County Sheriff's Office holds press conference on Maria Gomez-Perez search update

By Will Daughtry News Reporter

On Tuesday, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office hosted a press conference to update the public on the disappearance of 12-year-old Maria Gomez-Perez.

Gomez-Perez went missing May 29 and has still not been found.

“Make no mistake, the men and women of the sheriff’s office and numerous other agencies have Maria’s image burned in our hearts and into our minds,” Couch said.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch spoke at the presser, saying that the latest search of Gomez-Perez’s home was this past weekend that included Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents.

Couch said that their work at the home involved interviews, forensic exams, electronics and K-9s. 

The other agencies include the FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Homeland Security, the Gainesville Police Department, and the Consulate General of Guatemala in Atlanta according to Couch. 

Currently on the case are 12 FBI investigators, four GBI investigators, and six Homeland Security officials and roughly 50 investigators from Hall County, who have all been involved in the case, Couch said.

Couch also told reporters that there is a possibility Gomez-Perez was contacted near the day of her disappearance, which could have played a factor in her missing. They also believe most or all of her family is from Guatemala, which is why the Consulate General of Guatemala was brought in to help with interviews and translations. 

School officials, friends, social media friends, and neighbors have all been interviewed according to Couch. 

The FBI is taking control of out of state leads, and phones have been seized with data being downloaded by investigators for potential leads. 

The department has used drones and marine units to inspect ports of Lake Lanier. A grid pattern search is being utilized by officials to help try and bring Gomez-Perez home.

Couch says that since the publication of the hotlines, they have received 50 tips on top of the 20 they already had.

Other efforts have included posters being posted, four traffic message boards, and three public service announcements on digital billboards. 

Couch also reminded the public of the $20,000 reward from anonymous citizens and to come forward with any information.

“Someone out in the community has that one bit of information that is valuable to us, but they need to come forward,” Couch said.

Community representative Art Gallegos, Jr. joined WDUN's The Drive at 5 Tuesday to share further efforts being made by those involved.

"I think that what has happened here is the Latino community has stepped up," Gallegos said. "I just got out of a meeting with pastors here in Gainesville and a lot of the community has joined forces. There's a task force in the Latino community composed by pastors, leaders, business owners, family members, even schools, friends of the family that have joined this task force, including law enforcement and agencies to help the search for Maria Gomez."

Anyone with information on Maria’s whereabouts is asked to call (770) 503-3232, 911 or (770) 536-8812. Those with tips may also email Hall County detectives at [email protected].

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gainesville, hall county sheriff's office, missing person, missing child, search, press conference
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