VANCOUVER -- The past 12 days have been torturous for the family of 16-year-old Isabella Castillo. The Hudson's Bay High School student disappeared while walking home from school on March 25.
A few hours after her disappearance, her aunt and legal guardian, Cymany O'Brien, got a strange text message from Castillo. It read she was safe, but was not coming home.
It wasn't to me how she would talk. It felt kind of scripted, said O'Brien.
If her aunt says things don't make sense, I'm going to trust the aunt knows what's going on, said Michele Bart, an advocate for sex trafficking victims.
Bart says it's a common tactic for sex traffickers to send scripted text messages to their victim's loved ones.
In fact, on Friday night, Bart's organization, The National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation, used a cell phone to track down a sex trafficking victim in southern California.
Unfortunately, brainwashing had already taken hold.
She tells police 'Leave me alone. I'm fine. I don't want to go home. I'm with people who love me.' So police let her go, said a frustrated Bart.
Isabella's large Vancouver family understands that time is their enemy, especially since Isabella was last seen with an 18-year-old girl with a criminal history linked to prostitution.
The worst thing you'll ever have to endure is worrying about where your child is and what's happening to them, said O'Brien.
Isabella's large Vancouver family is posting fliers up and down the Interstate 5 corridor and their desperate search is quickly moving to social media.
I'm going to put it on Facebook because I have people in California in case she's there, said Debbie Fowler after she picked up a flyer from O'Brien.
Isabella's loved ones say they'll never give up hope.
I will never stop looking for her. I'm going to get her home no matter what it takes, said O'Brien.
That text message from the first day of Isabella's disappearance was traced to the Salem area. If you've seen Isabella, you should call Vancouver Police immediately.
Find Isabella Castillo Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/events/628711047143399/
Sex Trafficking Information: www.NWCAVE.org