Christel Billingsly lives in Sacramento. She flew to San Diego to satisfy NBC 7 for an interview, hoping to carry extra consideration to her son’s considerably forgotten case.
We met in the VONS parking zone on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. It’s a spot the place her son, Wesley Billingsly, shopped incessantly till his disappearance practically three years in the past.
“Everything is connected to your child,” Christel Billingsly stated. “People say ‘Well, his birthday must be hard.’ Well, Christmas is hard, Thanksgiving is hard. Easter is hard. Summer is hard, it’s just constant.”
Wesley Billingsly went lacking on June 12, 2018, when he was 24.
“There’s not a minute that goes by where I don’t think of him. But I still have to get up, I still have to go to work,” Christel Billingsly stated.
She was a single mother, elevating three children, together with Wesley. She says their household unit was at all times extraordinarily shut.
A graduate of San Diego State University, Christel Billingsly describes her son as outgoing, constructive, and sensible. Wesley Billingsly had an condo and a job at an promoting company. When she requested how he was doing, Wesley Billingsly advised his mother issues have been “going great.” He spoke to his mother and two siblings incessantly, by cellphone or textual content.
What Christel Billingsly didn’t know was that earlier than he disappeared, Wesley Billingsly was sofa browsing at buddies’ homes in Pacific Beach. He apparently missed the hire on his condo and his roommates requested him to depart. He additionally misplaced his job on the company.
On the day Wesley Billingsly disappeared, he was texting together with his brother. After that, there have been no calls, texts, or social media posts from the 24-year-old — one thing his mom stated is way from the norm.
NBC 7 Interviewed Christel Billingsly shortly after Wesley disappeared in 2018. She advised us then, “He’s never done this and it’s now like he’s dropped off the face of the earth. And we’re searching for him. I don’t know where he is but I need to know where my son is.”
In March 2019, the San Diego Police Department discovered Wesley Billingsly’s black Ford Expedition deserted on a metropolis road in the South Bay. Inside the truck, detectives found a few of Wesley’s private belongings, however he was nowhere to be discovered.
Christel Billingsly returned to San Diego a number of occasions in the months following Wesley’s disappearance. She put all of her vitality into posting fliers in the Pacific Beach space and the place the place his car was situated. The fliers characteristic Wesley Billingsly’s smiling face and a reward supply of $10,000.
“I want them to see Wesley’s face, I want them to know I am still searching for him, I want them to see him on the trees,” Christel Billingsly stated.
She estimates she has posted 5,000 fliers in the previous three years. She says she by no means returns to the world the place she posts them, for worry that somebody could have taken them down.
Although unimaginable to many, Christel Billingsly’s heartache is unfortunately not unusual.
In 2020, there have been roughly 1,100 adults reported lacking in simply town of San Diego. Of these, 24 are nonetheless open instances. And, of the 900 children reported lacking, about 100 are nonetheless open.
The police division could not give NBC 7 the precise variety of folks reported lacking thus far this yr, solely saying the quantity is “on track to be the same” as 2020. But they did say that as of now, there are 53 open lacking grownup instances.
Sgt. Joel Tien runs the Missing Person Unit for the San Diego Police Department.
“The majority of cases, the person ends up being located because they return home. With an at-risk situation, the first two days can be critical; I would even argue the first 24 hours,” Sgt. Tien stated.
Sgt. Tien says San Diego’s proximity to the Mexico border elements into their investigations.
“Being that we are so close to the border with Mexico, it’s not uncommon to have family or loved ones provide information about the person who is missing, who may have crossed the border,” Sgt. Tien stated.
Christel Billingsly stated she by no means knew of her s crossing into Mexico and may’t think about her son doing so. Still, she didn’t wish to go away any stone unturned, so she and her brother went to Tijuana. Mexico in November 2018. They went to hospitals and jails searching for Wesley with a translator. She says they spent hours on the native morgue wanting by hundreds of black-and-white pictures of unclaimed corpses, however Wesley Billingsly was not amongst them.
“The Billingsly case is currently open and we follow up on tips as they come in,” Sgt. Tien said. “The last tip we received was just a few months after Wesley went missing. Hence, we appreciate you highlighting the case. We hope we get some good information in the near future.”
NBC7 Investigates requested all of the lacking individuals information from each main legislation enforcement company in San Diego County.
In Oceanside, 349 lacking folks have been reported in 2020. Information was not offered for 2021.
In National City, 191 lacking folks have been reported in 2020. So far in 2021, 73 folks have been reported lacking.
In La Mesa, 122 lacking individuals have been reported in 2020. In 2021, 34 folks have been reported lacking.
In Carlsbad, 101 lacking individuals have been reported in 2020. In 2021, 32 folks have been reported lacking.
In Escondido, 171 lacking adults have been reported in 2020. In 2021, 64 adults have been reported lacking. In 2020, the Escondido Police Department reported 242 juveniles as “runaways” and in 2021, 91 juveniles have been reported as “runaways.”
NBC 7 requested the division why they labeled all juveniles as “runaways.” A spokesperson for the division stated, “This is based on the information received by the reporting party. Most runaways have a history of doing so, or there were statements made, or other signs of evidence they left voluntarily. If we believed a juvenile was truly missing, we would classify and investigate it as such, as the potential danger is increased.”
In El Cajon, 193 adults have been reported lacking in 2020. In 2021, 89 folks have been reported lacking. In 2020, the variety of juveniles that have been reported lacking or as a runaway was 94. In 2021, that quantity is 32.
Of course, to folks like Christel Billingsly, these numbers, particularly the variety of open instances, are of nice significance. Each one represents household, buddies and moms who proceed to go looking and hope for a breakthrough.
“People have moved on and life has gone on, and he is still missing,” Christel Billingsly said. “Life hasn’t moved on for me and my family. We are still searching for him.”
Since her son’s disappearance, Christel Billingsly has arrange a Facebook web page known as “Help Find Wesley Billingsly.”
Christel can also be providing a reward for data on her son’s whereabouts. She says she will be able to’t merely depend on the police division to assist discover her youngest baby, her “baby,” when she lives with fixed questions that torment her: “Is he still alive? Is he not alive? Is he out there? Is he not? I mean did someone hurt him? Did someone do something to him? He didn’t just disappear, he didn’t just fall off the face of the earth and disappear. I believe someone knows what happened to Wesley.”
If you have got any data on the disappearance of Wesley Billingsly, you possibly can report it to San Diego County Crime Stoppers.