Vigil for Hinesville teen missing since May to be held Wednesday

Crime & Safety

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – A vigil will be held Wednesday night for a Hinesville teenager who has been missing since May.

Maria Flores, 17, was last seen on May 20 at the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville when her boyfriend dropped her off in the morning. Flores’ family says he returned at 3:30 p.m., but Flores never showed up.

The vigil will be held Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. at Bradwell Park. All are invited to show support for Flores’ family.

Flores’ mother, grandmother and godmother/aunt flew from Alaska to Hinesville for the vigil to remind people that Hinesville Police need information on her whereabouts.

“How are you going to carry on with your daily life when this big of a hole in your heat is there?” said Cecilia Tavoliero, Flores’ mother.

Flores’ family says she was staying with her legal guardian, Alba Smith, when she went missing.

Smith provided family court documents to News 3 to explain why Flores was in her custody. According to those court documents, Flores’ biological mother abused Flores and “hit her with a metal spatula and wooden spoon.”

Documents also say Flores was worried her mother would kill one of her siblings. Flores’ grandmother, Val Cooday, denies those claims.

“We just find the circumstances under which Maria went missing to be very suspicious,” said Cooday.

Anyone with information on Maria Flores’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Hinesville Police Department at 912-368-8211.

“We haven’t had a resolution. There haven’t been any answers,” said Cooday. “It’s like being in limbo, not knowing. It’s been really difficult for the family. We have no answers and we are desperately trying to find answers.”

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