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Curious New Milford Police Chief Helps Find Woman Reported Missing In 2009

The original missing persons photo of Estephanie Rodriguez-Valle.
The original missing persons photo of Estephanie Rodriguez-Valle. Photo Credit: NJSP

NEW MILFORD, N.J. – What began as a conversation between New Milford Police Chief Frank Ramaci and one of his lieutenants led to the discovery of a woman who’d been reported missing eight years ago.

Estephanie Rodriguez-Valle was alive and well, living in Illinois – with no idea that loved ones had reported her missing, Ramaci said Thursday.

It began while Lt. William Duby was advising Ramaci of his recent effort to maintain the state computer system, which archives and includes various unidentified or missing persons files in a national database.

Ramaci recalled an investigation into the disappearance of a 23-year-old borough woman in 2009, while he was in the Detective Bureau. Despite several attempts, authorities couldn’t find Rodriguez-Valle at the time, he said.

The chief said he asked Detective Sgt. Nelson Perez to revisit the case.

Perez, one of the department’s bilingual police officers, recalled the case and contacted some of Rodriguez-Valle’s family members, who did not speak English, Ramaci said.

One thing led to another and, before long, Perez had a contact number.

He eventually reached Rodriguez-Valle, who told him she “left New Jersey on her own free will and did not realize relatives had reported her missing years ago,” Ramaci said.

She agreed to go to Aurora, Illinois Police Department, where law enforcement officers confirmed her identity, he said.

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