SAN FRANCISCO
10/21/2012 08:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rubi Cruz-Mendoza: Parents Plead For Return Of Missing Petaluma Girl

The parents of a missing 15-year-old Petaluma girl pleaded Sunday for her safe return after she was last seen Wednesday getting into a car with her godfather and another man.

"Rubi is a good daughter and student. She is very responsible and we want to help her overcome her difficulties," family friend Joyce Galindo said in a statement she read Sunday outside the Petaluma Police Department.

Rubi Cruz-Mendoza is a freshman at Casa Grande High School. On Sunday, her parents, Justino Cruz-Zarate and Reina Mendoza-Reyes, stood silently during the press conference with expressions of fatigue and sadness on their faces.

Petaluma police said the teen may have gone willingly with Hilario Matus-Carmona, 29, who was described as the teen's godfather.

The girl was last seen at about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday getting into a tannish-gray, two-door compact car at Park Lane and McGregor Avenue.

Matus-Carmona was in the front passenger seat of the car driven by an unidentified Latino man estimated to be about 20 years old.

Matus-Carmon has a wife and 2-year-old son who live in Petaluma. They also have not heard from him since Wednesday, Lt. Tim Lyons said.

Cruz-Mendoza's mother confronted her after she found out that the teen might be involved in a sexual relationship with her godfather.

Matus-Carmona and his family had lived for a time with Cruz-Mendoza and her family at the Greenbriar apartments on Maria Drive, though he and his family moved to another Petaluma apartment complex in September.

Lyons said Matus-Carmona has no criminal record and most recently was employed as a field worker in the Napa Valley.

He said detectives who have worked round-the-clock to try and locate the pair are concentrating their efforts in southern Central Valley along the Highway 99 and I-5 corridors.

Anyone with information about the pair's whereabouts is asked to call Petaluma Police at 778-4372.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek. ___

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