An East Boston woman went missing 90 days ago, and there have been few updates on the investigation into her disappearance, prompting calls for transparency and equality in the Boston Police Department's investigation.
Some Boston City Councilors sent a letter on Sunday to Mayor Michelle Wu and Police Commissioner Michael Cox, noting it's been three months since Reyna Morales Rojas disappeared and asking for more to be done.
"The Boston City Council is obligated to ensure that the City of Boston’s safety departments are responding to our residents' emergency needs promptly. It had come to our attention that it took nearly two months before the Boston Police Department publicly announced the disappearance of Reina Carolina Morales Rojas—an East Boston resident, Salvadoran immigrant, and mother of two," reads the letter from the Boston City Councilors of color.
The mayor's office confirmed in a statement that they had received the letter and said they will keep all members of the community updated to the extent legally possible given the ongoing investigation.
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"Our thoughts are with Reina's family and community, and we urge anyone with any possible information to come forward," the city spokesperson said.
Morales was last seen on Nov. 26, two days after Thanksgiving, however, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office did not announce her disappearance until Jan. 12, when they published her photograph asking for help finding the mother of two children, who arrived here from El Salvador in May 2022.
"Unfortunately, the type of response Ms. Morales Rojas' case received reflects a nationwide pattern. Missing cases of women of color are often unmet with the same urgency as their white counterparts," the letter continued. "In this case, Reina is not only a woman of color but also an immigrant, which further makes her susceptible to dismissive treatment."
Police have said that Morales Rojas was last seen on Allston St. in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts. The security videos that show Reyna Morales leaving her home in East Boston and getting in a silver truck are in the hands of the authorities, but city leaders want to know what's being done about that.
"We hope the City of Boston and the Boston Police Department will thoroughly investigate Ms. Morales Rojas’ disappearance. We are further asking that they take the concerns of the East Boston Latino Spanish-speaking community seriously," the letter concludes. "We want to ensure a plan for how BPD will respond to such cases moving forward. We encourage BPD to demonstrate good faith efforts to serve and protect our most vulnerable communities, and our offices are available and willing to support this work."
The city councilors who sent the letter joined community members at 5 p.m. Sunday at another vigil that was taking place at the new East Boston Police Station.
The Boston Police Department responded to a request for comment from NBC10 Boston on Sunday in which they acknowledge that some people may be frustrated by their "inability to provide specific details related to our investigation" but hit back at the notion that they haven't been focused on the case, or that Morales Rojas' immigration status or race has anything to do with it.
"Our priorities are Ms. Rojas safe return and the potential prosecution of anyone who may have harmed her in any way," a spokesperson for the police department said in an emailed statement. "We have been actively investigating since Ms. Rojas was reported missing on November 28th."
According to their statement, Boston police have been in regular contact with Morales Rojas' family and are working closely with other jurisdictions, including Somerville police where the East Boston woman was last seen.
They exclaimed they have utilized "all investigative tools," including conducting dozens of interviews and sharing information and photos of Morales Rojas widely with other law enforcement agencies.
Boston police are asking anyone with information to please contact them, saying, "We work hard in all the communities we serve to build trust. We want anyone who is a victim or witness of a crime to know we are here to help - we do not ask nor are we interested in anyone’s immigration status."
Anyone with information can submit anonymous tips to the CrimeStoppers tip line by calling 1-800-494-8477, or by texting 'TIP' to CRIME (27463).