The FBI is offering a $40,000 reward for information that leads to the safe return of Monica de Leon Barba, who was kidnapped in Mexico four months ago. Barba, a San Mateo resident, was forced into a van in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, while walking home from work with her dog on November 29, 2022.
According to a Facebook group called “Help Us Find Monica De Leon,” she was on her way to a gym called FIT 4 LIFE at the time of the kidnapping. The FBI believes it was a targeted kidnapping, and that Barba is still being held hostage.
“We believe she is still being held hostage,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge in San Francisco, Robert Tripp, during a news conference on Thursday. “The hostage takers have been in contact with her family and the FBI is working very close with her family and with authorities in Mexico to bring her home safely.”
Barba was wearing a black T-shirt and black pants at the time of the kidnapping. She has short hair with black and blonde highlights and is approximately 5’5″ tall.
Her family has been working with authorities in Mexico and has urged California Senator Alex Padilla and Congresswoman Jackie Speier to help in the search.
“We urge our elected officials to do everything in their power to assist in this effort,” said the family in a statement. “Monica is a beloved daughter, sister, and friend, and we will not rest until she is safely returned home.”
Anyone with information on Barba’s whereabouts is asked to call the FBI’s San Francisco Division at 415-553-7400 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.