UPDATE 11/26: Police on Thursday said both girls have been located and are safe.
LINCOLN SQUARE — The mother of one of two missing Amundsen High School sophomores is asking community members and friends to spread the word about the girls.
Sujeily Zepeda and Izebellia DeLeon, both 15, were last seen about 7:45 a.m. Nov. 19 at the school, 5110 N. Damen Ave., police said. The girls are friends and were together when they went missing, classmates and loved ones said.
Anyone with information about Zepeda and DeLeon should call police at 312-746-6554.
Misti Bijarro, DeLeon’s mother, told Block Club on Tuesday she hopes people will continue to share the information digitally and post copies around the school, near the intersection of North Kedzie and West Balmoral avenues where her daughter lives and any other locations where the teens and their friends regularly hang out.
Zepeda is Hispanic, 5 feet 2 inches tall and 110 pounds with brown eyes and light brown hair, according to police. She was last seen wearing a black Nike skull cap, gray Columbia jacket, Nike T-shirt, pink pants and white crocs. She has a scar on her left eyebrow.
DeLeon is Hispanic, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 110 pounds with brown eyes and light brown hair. She wears glasses, according to police.
“All my friends and family are trying to put the word out so we can find her,” Bijarro said. “Detectives told me keep putting flyers out there and to keep her in the news.”
DeLeon’s parents are divorced, and she lives with her father. Police found two nearly identical notes at the homes of the two missing teens explaining they ran away from home and saying they would be safe, Bijarro said.
Bijarro said she spent most of Tuesday with police searching for the two teens and speaking to reporters in an effort to find her daughter. She said she doesn’t know why her daughter might have left home.
“She loves to draw and is a really basic kid,” Bijarro said.
Emily Melvin, a friend of DeLeon’s mother, created a Facebook page to raise awareness about the girls. She said the girls were last seen getting into a blue car in front of the school, and police are trying to identify the car’s owner.
A police spokesman did not comment on that, and had no other information to share Tuesday about the girls.
“They were friends and were absolutely together that day,” Melvin said.
Zepeda’s parents could not be reached for comment.
Students who spoke to Block Club said they learned of Zepeda and DeLeon’s disappearance from their friends on Snapchat or from a letter the school’s principal sent Monday.
Some students were visibly upset the two girls are missing. They said they want concrete answers about what happened.
One student, a sophomore, said Zepeda and DeLeon have been close friends and can usually be spotted around campus together.
“They were friends and used to hang out in the halls, and I’d run into them all the time and we’d talk,” he said. “One day, they just didn’t come to school, and I got worried.”
After Zepeda and DeLeon were reported missing, a school counselor asked the student to come to the office. At the time, he said he didn’t know the two had been reported missing and the counselor asked the student if he’d seen the girls.
“I hope it’s something like they’re just mad at their parents and are staying with somebody,” the student said. “I hope they come home and that’s just the end of it.”
Principal Anna Pavichevich told families Monday there was no indication the girls’ disappearance had anything to do with them being students at Amundsen. In a second email to parents Monday night, Pavichevich said her staff will keep an eye out for any students experiencing anxiety and encourage them to speak to counselors throughout the week.
“Again, let me reinforce once again, there is no reason to believe that these disappearances have caused any safety issues at the school or for any students,” Pavichevich said in the email.
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