EXCLUSIVE: Search successful, moves South Bay cold case forward

RELATED: New developments lead detectives to search river bed for teen missing since 2002

CHULA VISTA – New leads have been pouring into the Chula Vista Police Department since CW6 told you last week about new elements in a missing person’s case from 2002.

Investigators now feel they’re closer than ever to solving a 14-year-old murder mystery.

The Chula Vista Police Department says there have been major developments in this case and when all is said and done, it could make headlines around the world.

For 14 years the community has been haunted by the question: What happened to Gaby Gonzales? The 14-year-old girl vanished in 2002.

“We’re all hoping a miracle happens, but we have to do the job and have homicide working it,” Lt. Fritz Reber said.

Last week, new information brought investigators to the Otay Valley Regional Park where they began searching the dry river bottom for Gaby’s remains.

“We believed there was evidence to be found, so we conducted an operation last week, and the operation was a success, and now we have more information to work with,” he added.

Lt. Reber won’t say exactly what they found but he believes her killer will soon be brought to justice. He says the investigation is moving forward and there have been hundreds of tips regarding Gaby’s disappearance.

“Quite a few new leads. Quite a bit of work to do. Physical evidence and re-interviewing key witnesses and new witnesses that have come forward. We are very pleased with the response,” Lt. Reber said.

Since the case heated up, he says the list of people of interest is very short.

“It’s not one, and it’s not several hundred. There is a workable amount of people that may be involved. It’s very rare for one person to be involved. We have a starting place in terms of people,” he said.

The day Gaby went missing, she left a note for her mom saying she was going out with her boyfriend Juan José Vera.  He was 19 at the time and now a known gang member with a criminal record.

“He is a name involved in this investigation, from prior press reports. That’s where I want to leave it. I don’t want to comment on any individuals we might be investigating or considering.”

Chula Vista Police are still asking for your help. If you have any information, there is a $2,000 reward.  Gaby’s family is hoping they will soon be able to bring her home.

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