NM NM - Jennifer Pentilla, 18, Deming, 17 Oct 1991


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Mar 8, 2005
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Missing Since: October 17, 1991 from Deming, New Mexico
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: April 4, 1973
Age: 18 years old
Height and Weight: 5'5, 112 - 125 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Pentilla has a mole on her left forearm. She has a gap between her upper front teeth. Pentilla has diagonal scars on the tips of her index and middle fingers. She wears Iazza Fortell eyeglasses with brown-colored frames. Pentilla's nickname is Jen. Her blood type is O-positive.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue Bum sweatshirt, a tank top, denim shorts, socks, brown hiking boots, dog tags, a friendship bracelet, a silver ring with the words "Loves Jesus" on it, and a watch with the Rice Krispies cartoon characters Snap, Crackle and Pop imprinted on it.

Details of Disappearance

Pentilla left her home in Missoula, Montana in late September 1991. She planned to travel to San Diego, California to meet with a missionary group. Pentilla was in Los Cruse, New Mexico in mid-October 1991. She was riding her new white Fuji mountain bicycle and carrying her backpack, camping gear, $45o in cash and two Bibles. Pentilla evidently decided to bike to Mexico and work with another mission at that time.

Pentilla called her mother in Montana eight times between October 1 and October 13 to report her trip progress. She called home the last time on October 17 from Deming, New Mexico. She placed the call a pay phone from the Shell gas station on Main Street, which is no longer in operation. Pentilla said that she heard Mexico could be dangerous for a single woman who traveled alone, so she had changed her plans. She said she was thinking of traveling to Minnesota to visit a friend instead. Pentilla's mother offered to pay for her transport there after she made more concrete plans, and Pentilla agreed to call her mother that evening. She never called back, never arrived at the friend's home and has not been heard from again.

Pentilla's camping gear, backpack, bicycle helmet and journals were discovered by hunters under a tree in Hatch, New Mexico in 1992, approximately one year from the time Pentilla had disappeared. Hatch is approximately 46 miles northeast of Deming, New Mexico. There has been no trace of Pentilla since that time.

Pentilla's mother received a phone call from a woman who claimed she may have spoken to Pentilla in San Francisco, California in 1998. The witness said that the unidentified girl was in the China Basin area of San Francisco near the third and fourth piers at Fisherman's Wharf. It has not been confirmed that the girl was Pentilla. Other evidence suggests that Pentilla may be living in the southwest part of the United States, specifically New Mexico. She may be in the company of a street woman named Teresa.

Pentilla is originally from Great Falls, Montana. She moved to Missoula, Montana shortly before beginning her travels in September 1991. Her mother stated she had previously traveled to as far as Africa with religious groups. Pentilla's case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Deming Police Department

Here is another link with some info:
It says her equipment and journal was found under a tarp in a remote area. I wonder if Jennifer traveled with the tarp to cover her stuff when she went out on her bike. There is no mention of a tent so maybe that is the case.
I wonder if entries on her journal could still be read after a year on the ground under a tarp.

By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 02/04/2013 12:25:48 AM MST

Jennifer Lynn Pentilla, a resident of Missoula, Mont., was 18 years old and in Deming, N.M., when her family last heard from her on Oct. 17, 1991.

While I never met Jen, I've thought of her through the years.

I was a student in Minnesota at the time she went missing.

My wife has worked in Deming. We've discussed Jen's case off and on over the course of our marriage.

We've often traveled between Deming and Hatch along the route Jen likely used.

I have no useful or profound insights to offer other than the fact that somebody has been thinking/praying about her all these years.
Bumping for this puzzling case and wondering if there have been any new leads as to Jennifer's location.
Here's a website I found that appears to be mostly about Jennifer (http://www.coldcaseclosure.com/). Pictures, diary scans, witness testimony: Whoever has this information is sharing it liberally. (I hope they have permission to do so.) At first glance it appears the website was put up in 2013. It has certainly filled in some of the blanks in my thinking about this case. It might be worth discussion.
The older perp. idea is not without precedent. The BTK killer took about 20 years off, got a stable job, raised a family, and was even the President of his church before he resumed activities and was caught.

Back to finding Jen... If she was abducted on the I-10 corridor, she or her body could be anywhere in the U.S.

On the other hand, Deming is not that far from the border. My wife tells me that she and her coworkers would regularly cross the border on their lunch hour. (She worked in Deming a few years after the incident.)

Jen could have easily left the country of her own volition, or been carried over the border.

I wonder if the family has been able to search in Mexico. Is there a NAMUS like system we could be using across the border?

While I'm skeptical, it's very possible that Jen's alive and fulfilling her calling in Mexico.
Bumping per our annual return to New Mexico. We drive past the place on I-10, if you support the I-10 abduction theory, where Jen might have been taken. Prayers for the family.
Bumping per our annual return to New Mexico. We drive past the place on I-10, if you support the I-10 abduction theory, where Jen might have been taken. Prayers for the family.

Wonder if Theresa, the homeless woman Jennifer was associating with, can be located?
When I get a chance I'd like to look into some of these New Mexico cases.
Pentilla case: 25 years unsolved


No motive or reasoning behind Pentilla’s disappearance has been discovered and the case has not seen a serious suspect detained or questioned in its 25 years.

“It’s become a little bit more difficult,” said New Mexico State Police Agent Charles Boylston. “The main mission here is to get Jennifer found and get her home to her family. When I first received this case, I did everything I could, and do everything I can to try and get it solved.”

Agent Boylston has been assigned to the case for over six years and reviews the information on a monthly basis. The case will soon be transferred to the NMSP cold case investigation team and will be visited more often in the department to possibly deliver more results. Currently, the only known facts in the case of finding Pentilla are that she and her bicycle are missing and her travel gear has been located. State Police have no leads on her whereabouts or possible people she may have come ionto contact with while in Deming.

Pentilla’s family says they have been grateful for the work the NMSP has done over the years searching for her and that they just wish their daughter not be forgotten.

“She’s deeply missed and we think of her every day,” Harris said through tears. “We just want her back and she needs to be found.”
Jennifer’s belongings were found approximately 46 miles northeast of Deming. Jennifer’s bicycle has never been found.Harris said it has been difficult all these years waiting to find something out about her eldest daughter. She said her daughter would be 41 years old today. She is still looking for her 18-year-old daughter. Waiting to hear something — anything to give her and her family some form of peace.
Harris said she believes someone followed her daughter and took her. She said she thinks they left her belongings hidden and out of sight.


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Wonder if Theresa, the homeless woman Jennifer was associating with, can be located?
There is no solid evidence that Jennifer was traveling with a woman named Theresa. That may be a false lead.

An accidental death cannot be ruled out. I know from experience how easy it is to have a bad wipe out on a bike while riding in an unfamiliar area. Are there any canyons or ravines in that area? I don't know what the terrain in that area is like.

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