VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – As police expand their search to locate a missing mother, her family says text messages reveal she was worried about her safety in the days before she vanished.
More than 200 people, including many strangers, joined the search effort on July 7 and 8 to find Bellamy Gamboa. The mother of four disappeared on July 1.
“She feared for her life,” said Emmanuel Gamboa, her father. “She was absolutely scared.”
Mr. Gamboa didn’t talk specifics with WAVY.com, but he says text messages sent between his daughter and a close friend indicate the 39-year-old was nervous something might happen.
Gamboa was last seen leaving her home at the Diamond Springs Apartments. Her ex-boyfriend, Lamont Johnson, says she left after the two got into an argument. Johnson says he doesn’t know where she went but said it was uncharacteristic of her to leave their twin infants for an extended period of time.
Police say a family member filed a missing person report around 8 p.m. on July 2.
Gamboa’s car was found abandoned the next day, July 3, on Pickering Street in Lake Edward. The car was towed from the neighborhood and police say they found the car at the towing company on July 4 during the course of their investigation, according to spokeswoman Linda Kuehn.
Police notified the public the morning of July 5. Hours later, Virginia State Police issued a Critically Missing Adult (Ashanti) Alert that said Gamboa was likely abducted and in danger.
“A lot of people go missing. Every investigation is different,” said Kuehn, when asked why police waited three days to release information to the public. “It’s when they really determine there is more to it than a missing person.”
Authorities have used boats, drones and helicopters in the search. So far, police say they have found no trace of Gamboa.
“We are keeping our hopes up, but we know time is of the essence,” said Charisse Gamboa, her sister. “Please do not stop looking for Bellamy. Please do not stop caring for Bellamy.”
Detectives were looking at new areas to expand their search on Monday, according to Kuehn.
Family members say they continued their efforts by searching near the train tracks behind Gamboa’s apartment.
“Bellamy, if you hear this, we will not stop until we find you.”
If you see Gamboa know anything of her whereabouts, call the Crime Line at 1 (888) LOCK-U-UP.