' The Charley Project: Esther Valdez
Esther Valdez

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Top Row and Bottom Left and Center: Esther, circa 1984;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 44 (circa 2011)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 7, 1984 from Chama, New Mexico
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: March 26, 1967
  • Age: 17 years old
  • Height and Weight: 4'11, 110 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Esther has one ear pierced. She has burn scars under her right arm and on the right side of her neck. Some agencies spell her name "Ester."
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    Details of Disappearance

    Esther was last seen after school on September 7, 1984. She and her best friend, Cindy Redwine, picked up their paychecks from the Branding Iron restaurant, where they worked as dishwashers, and then drank whiskey and visited the grave of Esther's baby sister, who had died several years earlier. At the gravesite, Esther told Redwine she loved her parents and tired of hurting them. The friends separated afterwards. At approximately midnight, Esther went to Redwine's house, accompanied by an older man. They invited her to go camping. Redwine refused and told Esther not go either. Esther and her male friend left in the man's Bronco.

    Esther has never been heard from again, but a few days later, her wallet was found in Chama. There were possible sightings of her in Colorado and the New Mexico cities of Albuquerque and Farmington after her disappearance, but none of these reports were confirmed. Redwine stated she knew the man Esther was last seen with and asked him where she had gone, and he said he had left her at Redwine's house. She told him she knew his story was untrue, and he denied having harmed her. This individual apparently left the Albuquerque area sometime after Esther's disappearance. He has not been publicly identified.

    At the time of her disappearance, Esther was scheduled to appear as a witness in the trial of a bar owner. He had been cited for allowing her into Ben's Lounge when she was underage. She disappeared before the trial took place. It is unclear whether Esther's scheduled testimony has anything to do with her disappearance. However, after her disappearance her family and friends heard rumors that she was murdered at a party at Ben's Lounge on the night she vanished.

    Esther was a student at Escalante High School in 1984, and had five younger siblings. She dreamed of becoming a beautician. She drank occasionally and dated older men, and she had previously run away from home for short periods, but she has never been gone for this long. Her case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New Mexico State Police
    505-827-9126

    OR?
    505-827-9300

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    Source Information
    The Doe Network
    The Albuquerque Journal
    MySpace Page for Esther Valdez
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    NamUs

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    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated May 1, 2013; distinguishing characteristics updated.

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