The family of a Virginia father who vanished days before Christmas found a trail of blood leading from his abandoned car to nearby woods, relatives said.
Jose Guerrero’s girlfriend said a “big amount of blood” was also found in the back seat of his abandoned Hyundai two days after his disappearance Dec. 21 in Woodbridge, 23 miles south of Washington, D.C.
First Sgt. Jonathan Perok of the Prince William County Police Department declined to comment on the discoveries, saying in an email that the agency would release “pertinent details as needed” to aid in what it previously described as an investigation into Guerrero’s suspicious disappearance.
“Our message is and continues to be asking for anyone with information to come forward,” he said.
Guerrero’s girlfriend, Sheila Perez, said he didn’t say what he was planning to do before he left home — but she said Guerrero told her he expected to return in five to 10 minutes.
Perez, who has a 10-month-old with Guerrero, said she reported him missing when he didn’t return. The family later found his car less than 2 miles from his home, Perez said.
“My son would never do anything or hurt anyone,” said Guerrero’s mother, Andrea Salgado. “There was no Christmas for us. There was no celebration. We were grieving for my son.”
Perez accused Prince William County police of failing to take her missing person report seriously, accusing authorities of believing he’d run away “or some other excuse,” she said.
“That’s not the issue here,” she said. “This is serious.”
In the email, Perok said that when Guerrero, 20, was initially reported missing, there was no indication he was in danger. That changed Friday night after his car was found and “additional information was learned,” Perok said.
“We have since worked this case nonstop through the weekend and currently,” he said. “We’ve conducted numerous searches, and have followed up on multiple leads that have not yielded his location. What we need right now is information and cooperation which we have not fully been getting from those connected to Jose.”
Guerrero’s loved ones are also scouring the area where his car was found.
“I shouldn’t be here looking for him,” Perez said while searching the woods. “We should be at home.”
Tim Stelloh is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.