Months after a 25-year-old woman went missing, a suburban Philadelphia police department announced Thursday that they suspect foul play in her disappearance.
Amanda Deguio's mother last saw her in early June. The mother of two girls, 3-year-old Sophia and 5-year-old Ava, was reported missing Aug. 27.
"We know she is in a bad way, in a bad place," her mother Joanne Deguio said between tears, referring to her daughter's known drug abuse issues. "If she is out there, she needs to know it is safe to come home."
"It is so important we have some kind of closure and answers for her children," she said.
Amanda's history of drug abuse delayed the filing of the missing person's report as they suspected she may have been on a binge, relatives said Thursday.
In the weeks between when she was last seen and when the report was filed in late August, the family said they checked places she frequented and stayed in touch with police, who eventually advised them to file a formal missing persons report.
The woman has gone missing for a day or two in the past, but she would always contact her relatives by phone, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
This time there have been no calls, he said, and her cell phone records and her credit card activity ended in June, leading authorities to suspect foul play.
"I hope I'm wrong. I hope we can get her back safe," Chitwood said.
"When we have somebody who is addicted to heroin, they are going to do something criminal," he continued. "They aren't going to go and disappear off the face of the earth unless God forbid something has happened to them."
The worst case scenario is on the minds of the relatives of Amanda, a prescription drug and heroin user who has a history of prostitution.
"If she is not alive, I need to bring her home," Joanne said. "I need to at least have an answer fo r her children and our family."
The possibility that she is "being held captive in some type of human trafficking process" has been considered, said Chitwood, who added that Homeland Security has weighed in on the case.
Investigators have collected a DNA swab and provided the 24th and 25th districts in Philly, as well as SEPTA officials, with information on Amanda, he said.
He added she is also known to hang out in several Delaware County neighborhoods like Upper Darby, Clifton Heights and Drexel Hill.
She is 5-feet 3-inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds and has several tattoos, including an image of Italy and the word "Tommy" on the right side of her rib cage, the letters "MF" on the inside of her lower lip and the letters "SC" on her left ring finger, Chitwood said.
Amanda also used several aliases including Stacy, Gianna and Adrianna, he said.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact Upper Darby Police Department.