CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The family of missing mother, Maya Millete, reacted Monday to developments in another missing-person case now making national headlines.
Human remains – believed to be those of missing woman Gabby Petito – were found over the weekend in Wyoming.
Maya Millete's family members said they wish there was the same sense of urgency from law enforcement when Maya first went missing in Chula Vista.
Millete’s sister and brother-in-law, Maricris and Richard Drouaillet, have been waiting more than eight months for a break in the Chula Vista case.
“I wish we got the same support,” said Maricris Drouaillet.
Over the weekend, there was a major break in the Petito case. Human remains, believed to be those of the missing woman, were found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
“It’s kind of like reliving it again, seeing that someone else is going through the same emotions that we're going through,” said Richard Drouaillet.
The break in the Petito case came after police released photographs of the Ford Transit van that Gabby and her fiancé were last seen driving.
Then, people posted dash-cam video of the same van in a camping area and, eventually, a large-scale, law enforcement search effort discovered the body.
“We never really got that same search effort from the police department,” said Maya’s brother-in-law. “It was always us and the community doing our separate search without the police presence.”
After Maya Millete went missing on January 7, Chula Vista police never asked witnesses to come forward regarding vehicles of interest in the case -- like the family’s black Lexus SUV, which was driven by Maya’s husband, Larry Millete, or Maya’s black Jeep. Both vehicles have since been seized and impounded by Chula Vista detectives.
Another vehicle, a white Toyota Highlander, may have been seen on surveillance video in the neighborhood on the night Maya went missing, according to family members and neighbors.
“We know that there's someone that parked their car, went out from their car, went back into their car and leave,” said Maricris Drouaillet.
The apparent missed opportunities early on in the search for Maya left the family members with mixed emotions about the devastating developments in the Petito case.
“We're praying for that family. We feel their pain. We've been going through it for eight months now. We've been going through it,” said Richard Drouaillet.
“We are very happy that they get their closure, and hopefully we'll have our closure soon, too, with the help of the public and the community,” said Maricris Drouaillet.
News 8 reached out to Chula Vista police for comment. CVPD Captain Eric Thunberg issued the following statement via email:
"The Chula Vista Police Department remains committed to seeking justice for May and her family, with whom we are in frequent and ongoing communication, and we will continue to provide bi-weekly updates.
I’m certain you can understand the sensitivity of this investigation, but we will not compromise the investigation by discussing investigative processes or strategies."
In a bi-weekly update on May 19, CVPD said it had searched an abandoned golf course near the Millete home “over the past week.”
In its most recent update, CVPD said it has written 64 search warrants in the case, interviewed 79 people and reviewed more than 125 tips in the investigation.
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