Filed under: Amy Vargas

Missing in a Tropical Paradise, Pt. II: Amy Vargas, Vanished From Cancun

Some people are so obsessed with missing girls they videotape reports on their own TVs

Amy Vargas, age 16, has vanished from a resort in Cancun, Mexico. Vargas, who is half Costa Rican, was visiting the Great Parnassus Resort when she disappeared last Thursday after playing baseball on the beach.

Now her mother, D’an Simmons, is getting ready to plead for a passport that will permit her travel to Mexico, where she will help search for her daughter.

The Dakota High School sophomore was with her grandmother and great-grandmother at the resort. According to the Detroit News, she was no stranger to traveling overseas, having been to both St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands last summer. Vargas is also fluent in Spanish, so was perhaps was better prepared than many teens to travel to Mexico.

Reports as to what Vargas was actually doing prior to her disappearance vary. One said she was playing baseball with others on the beach. Another, earlier report (linked below) stated that the teen was at the pool. Vargas headed to the restroom and never came back. The same report from WDIV in Detroit stated that investigators wanted to speak with a Grand Parnassus employee whom “they believe left the property with the girl and two other men.”

In the WDIV interview, D’an Simmons made it clear that she was sure her daughter did not leave the area willingly.

Ominously, Vargas’s cell phone was apparently turned off after she vanished.

If an American girl missing in a tropical paradise sounds familiar, you may be thinking of Natalee Holloway. Her disappearance from the island of Aruba on May 31, 2005 marked the beginning of one of the most complex and confounding missing persons cases in recent history. Holloway’s disappearance also became a bizarre kind of Internet phenomenon and is probably the case most closely associated with “missing white woman syndrome,” which Wikipedia describes thusly:

[The] disproportionately greater degree of coverage in television, radio, and print news reporting of a missing person case involving a young, attractive, middle or upper middle class white woman, compared with cases concerning a missing male, or missing persons of other races or classes.

Amy Vargas, a cute latina teen with a long-term interest in soccer, doesn’t fit the Anglo, often blond stereotype associated with Holloway, but the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are similar, at least on the surface. A quick glance at the website for the Grand Parnassus Resort makes it clear she was in an idyllic place – the sort of resort where your expectations of danger flutter away on the breeze. It would be easy to lose yourself there.

Mexican police, the security team at Grand Parnassus and now the FBI are looking into Amy Vargas’s disappearance.

So are a number of amateurs on the Internet. Missing and white or not, something about missing people promotes obsession, whether you know the vanished or not. It’s the confounding idea that it can happen at all, perhaps, in this day and age. We live in a time when it is easy to feel your every move is being tracked. How, then, can someone suddenly one day just not be there, anymore?

If you think about it, it makes less sense now than ever before.