14-year-old Gina DeJesus disappeared in 2004 during walk home from school

CLEVELAND - Relatives of Gina DeJesus said the teen who went missing nearly a decade ago is healthy and doing well.

DeJesus was found in a Cleveland home Monday night after she disappeared walking home from Wilbur Wright Middle School in 2004.

"Gina is doing well, she's in good spirits," said Sandra Ruiz off camera. "She remembers everyone."

"She asked for her brother and sister and her nieces that they all lived with," said Sheila Figaro, DeJesus' second cousin.

Figaro said she and her family never gave up hope that DeJesus would be found alive.

"I just broke into joyful tears," she added when she heard the news tonight.

DeJesus grew up less than two miles from where she was found on the city's west side.

On April 2, 2004, 14-year-old DeJesus went missing. She was last seen around West 105 Street and Lorain Avenue. Her mother, Nancy Ruiz, said she believed DeJesus was sold into human trafficking.

"Gina's story is reason to never give up hope and never give up faith," said Sandra Ruiz.

Since her disappearance, Gina's mother Nancy Ruiz has been a local advocate for missing children and the dangers of human trafficking.

"I always said it from the beginning; she was sold to the highest bidder," she said in April 2012.

"The community out here is not aware of this situation," said Felix DeJesus about the human trafficking problem, "and not just in the city of Cleveland, throughout the United States."

In 2006, Cleveland police searched a house on West 50th Street after a tip that DeJesus was buried there. Two men were in custody, but released.

On May 6, Gina DeJesus was discovered alive with fellow missing teen Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments