37 years ago, a 15-year-old girl vanished after her religious parents caught her with a boy. What happened to Angelica?

Fatim Hemraj

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Angelica LongoriaPhoto byNBC News

Angelica “Angel” Longoria was a 15-year-old girl who lived in El, Monte California. Angel did well academically and never got into trouble. Shortly after her parents divorced in 1980, Angel’s father, Gilbert, married his second wife, Margaret who had two sons of her own. Since their biological mother was in and out of jail, Angel and her brothers, Gabriel and Gus, moved in with their father, stepmother, and two step-siblings.

After Gilbert married Margaret, a devout Christian, he suddenly became very religious and strict. They often punished their children with corporal punishment. Angel was no longer allowed to wear pants. Gilbert forced her to wear conservative dresses to school, prompting her peers to bully her.

Margaret didn’t treat her stepchildren the same way she treated her biological children and Gilbert supported her behavior. They often took Margaret’s children out for dinner while Angel and her brothers were left home alone. Angel was forced to take on the role of a mother. She cooked for her brothers, cleaned up after them, and made sure they were safe.

One day in 1985, Angel met an older guy through Margaret’s niece, Ruby and they started dating. On November 23, Margaret caught Angel kissing her secret boyfriend and she told her husband. Gilbert was enraged. After he beat Angel, they made her wash the dishes and clean the house.

Angel was never seen or heard from again.

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Angelica LongoriaPhoto byThe Vanished Podcast

Gilbert and Margaret told the other children that Angel ran away in the middle of the night.

The couple reported her missing two days later.

Loved ones didn’t know that Angel was missing until months had passed by. Many immediately suspected Gilbert and his wife and recalled that a month before Angel vanished, she called her maternal grandmother and told her that she was having issues with her father, who was abusive.

Gus was distraught over his sister’s disappearance. He claimed his parents never spoke about Angel and removed every memory of her from their house. They never searched for Angel or put up missing flyers. Gus later married and named one of his daughters Angelica after his missing sister.

“There has always been a big hole in my heart. I had a lot of dreams of her coming home and being in tears. I know if she ran away, if there was one person she would reach out to again, it would be me. I was her baby.” — Angel’s brother, Gus

Gilbert and Margaret proclaimed their innocence, insisting they waited to report Angel missing because they thought she went to a friend’s house to cool off. They said they believed that Angel would return but she never did.

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An age-progression photo of Anjelica Longoria at age 41Photo byMissing & Exploited

Today, Angelica Longoria would be 52 years old. She was 4'8" and 95 lbs. She has a scar under her right eye and a chipped front tooth. If you have any information, contact El Monte Police Department at 626–580–2100.

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