Police are searching for a young Tallahassee woman who went missing during the Rolling Loud Miami music festival over the weekend.
Ashley Espinoza Sanchez was last seen on Saturday, July 24, during the jam-packed event at The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. But friends who are worried about her mental health say they haven’t heard from her since.
She weighs 130 pounds, wore white vans shoes and was last seen around 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Miami Gardens police. Nicholas Prevost, 20, told the Miami Herald that his friend is about 5-foot-2-inches, has medium-length dark hair and is wearing a black-and-red floral romper without any shoes.
Someone wrote a post on Facebook from a Florida missing persons group noting that she is a Hispanic woman with brown hair.
‘Something’s not right’
Prevost and Espinoza Sanchez, who drove down from Tallahassee to attend the three-day festival, waited in line at the security gate before heading to Don Toliver’s 6:30 p.m. performance at the Ciroc Stage. Prevost said she asked him to hold her phone because she didn’t have pockets and grew tired of carrying it.
Letting her through the gate first, he didn’t expect to lose her in the crowd as she raced toward the front to see Toliver’s performance.
“It doesn’t go through my head that ‘oh I’m gonna hold her phone and then she’s gonna run away from me,’” he said. “When we got through the gate and got closer to the bigger crowd, I was gonna hand it back just to make sure that she has something,” Prevost added.
He said he couldn’t keep up as she slipped through taller, tightly packed bodies. He is worried because she left her identification card in the car and he fears that she may have been struggling mentally.
Amber Hicks, Espinoza Sanchez’s childhood friend, said she suffers from manic episodes — though it’s not clear whether she had one at the time of her disappearance. Hicks, 24, talks to her regularly and believes it’s possible Espinoza Sanchez may not know who she is, her location or remember giving her phone to Prevost.
By the time Prevost caught up, he looked around for her and followed a small opening in the crowd a few hours before sunset.
“I froze for like half a second because I was just completely confused ... it shook me for a second or two, and then I’m like, ‘OK I need to chase her down, like something’s not right,” Prevost said. “The deeper I got the harder it was to see anything.”
Staying up until the early hours of the morning, Prevost waited by the exit where they had first entered and then walked about seven miles around the area trying to find her.
He said he later found out she was at the medical station inside the gates for an hour earlier that evening but did not know the reason.
‘That’s how we really know she’s lost’
Hicks, who has called behavioral centers in the area without any luck, said she hasn’t gone missing like this before and is getting more anxious as time passes.
She added that her remaining family lives in California, where Hicks also resides.
Hicks last spoke with Espinoza Sanchez the day before she went missing, and is concerned because her friend hasn’t shown up for work in several days.
“She’s there all day every day typically,” Hicks said. “That’s how we really know she’s lost because she hasn’t like been working or anything.”
‘A whole new level’
In a series of tweets, Prevost wrote that he filed a missing-persons report and had called as many hospitals “within 25 miles” of the stadium as he could.
Espinoza Sanchez now has been missing for four days, and Prevost is becoming increasingly concerned.
He and friends have tried contacting Rolling Loud — which had not responded as of Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, police are piecing together the timeline of her disappearance.
If you have information on her whereabouts, you can call the Miami Garden Police Department at (305) 474-6473. or call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.