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Family, SAPD seeking clues in woman's 1980 disappearance

Beatrice Villela vanished without a trace

SAN ANTONIO – At just 19, Beatrice Villela -- "BB," as her sisters called her -- knew what she wanted to do with her life. She had her own condo. She was a hair stylist. She managed a salon. She loved her family.

Then on Sunday, Sept. 28, 1980, she vanished.

Villela's father reported her missing.

"I remember my dad screaming, cursing, yelling over the phone to the police department, telling them, ‘What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean she's of age? She's 19 years old! She's not a runaway. We don't think she's a runaway. We're worried something has happened to her. No one has seen her now for almost 48 hours,'" said Mary Helen Coronado, Villela's sister. "There's nothing to be done. Sadly enough, it just got quiet because there was nothing else we could do."

When Villela was reported missing, there was no sign of foul play. San Antonio police took a report, but there was no search effort. There was no media coverage of the case. In fact, this is the first time Villela's disappearance has ever been discussed publicly.

‘Where the hell is she?'

Villela's last week was a busy one. She was planning to make a trip to Chicago to see her sister and attend a show for hair stylists Oct. 1. She checked in with her sister, making plans for the trip.

"At that time she had even talked about staying in Chicago. She was excited. She thought maybe she could pursue her profession," said Sylvia DeMareno, Villela's sister.

Villela offered to pick up her niece and nephew Sunday.

"When I came home late that Sunday night, the kids were still here and Mary Helen said (Beatrice) didn't pick them up. I said (that) maybe she (had gotten) busy or something. We didn't think about calling her," said Thelma Frias, Villela's sister.

By Monday, the sisters knew something was wrong.

"I got the phone call from my cousin saying she didn't show up at the shop. 'Her customers are here. Do you know where she's at? She's 20 minutes late,'" said Coronado.

"It's not how she was," said Frias. "Where the hell is she?"

BB's last known plan

"She was dedicated," said Melissa Martinez, who works in SAPD's Missing Persons Unit.

Though she has only been with unit seven years, she knows Villela's case well. She's read the reports and talked to Villela's family. Martinez explained what police know about the plans Villela shared that fateful day.

"Beatrice received a call from the owner of the salon she managed. They had arranged to meet at the beauty school to pick up supplies for the beauty shop," Martinez said. "They were supposed to go pick up the supplies, go to the shop, unload them and then she was supposed to meet family to babysit her niece and nephew."

"She just disappeared," Martinez said.

Watch a reenactment of the enouncter below.