SAN ANTONIO – Andrew Mayorga was just 17 when he disappeared during a holiday stop in San Antonio in 2007. Each passing year, he's missed birthday and holiday celebrations.
His family said Mayorga's absence has left them with heartache and many unanswered questions.
"Something happened to Andrew. Somebody hurt Andrew," said his grandmother, Mildred Ramos.
Temporary visit to San Antonio with 'honorary grandpa'
Mayorga had been living in Washington State with his mother in 2007. He was going to live with his grandmother in Louisiana, but stopped in San Antonio to stay with a family friend over the holidays. It wasn't his first time in the Alamo City.
"Andrew was born in San Antonio. He loved San Antonio," Ramos said.
Ramos describes Mayorga as a beautiful child who was "always happy, always loved."
While here, Mayorga stayed with a family friend described as an "honorary grandpa" who lived in the 7200 block of Blanco Road. Like his grandmother and mother before him, Andrew helped out at the man's law office.
Ramos said she called Mayorga every day.
"I said, 'Andrew, you're going to have to come with me. I'm worried. I'm concerned.' 'No, grandma.' 'No. I'm going to go pick you up.' And then I didn't hear from him. He disappeared," Ramos said.
That was Jan. 4, 2007.
Looking for clues
Mayorga's family and San Antonio police don't know much about Andrew's last steps here.
"(Honorary grandpa) went to check if Andrew was in bed that evening and Andrew was not. It's unknown if he went out a window, a front door. (It's) unknown how he actually walked away and disappeared from that location," said Courtney Weyrich, with the San Antonio Police Department's Missing Person's Unit.
Mayorga left behind everything that was important to him.
"Since he was like 4 years old, he always had a wallet with his ID," Ramos said. "He had his ID, his Social Security (card) -- everything was there. His clothes were there. Everything. Andrew disappeared and didn't take anything."
He also abandoned a chihuahua his grandmother had given him.
When he worked at the honorary grandpa's office, Mayorga regularly used one computer -- not always for work. Mayorga was active on MySpace. Ramos said she shared that information with police, but it didn't help.
"When I called (honorary grandpa), I said, 'I'm going out there, I will pay for the technician to look at the hard drive.' He said, 'I threw away the computer.' I said, "(Honorary grandpa), that's evidence! We can know where he went, who he was talking to, who was his friends," Ramos said. "He said he threw it out on the street."
Ramos is frustrated police did not try to get the computer before that happened.
Mayorga's regular activity on MySpace stopped. With the computer gone, police had a hard time figuring out if Mayorga's online activity was a factor in his disappearance. They also searched Travis Park, a place Mayorga was known to frequent.
"We're thinking that he met somebody during his walks downtown. He met somebody on MySpace, since MySpace was an outlet to other states, other areas. We don't know if he met somebody and they provided a plane ticket or a bus ticket to leave San Antonio. Being 17, the airlines and the bus stations will not ID or question you for leaving. You can come and go as you please on the airlines and buses if that's your choice of transportation," Weyrich said.
'He's going to come back to us'
Ramos cherishes the photos of her grandson, his age frozen in pictures. Because he was a teenager when he disappeared, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created an image of what Mayorga may look like now.
Ramos can't help but think of the present they could have together. She wants Mayorga to know how badly his family wants to see him again.
"I still imagine you as a little boy. I know you're a man now and I can't wait to hug you and see you," Ramos said.
Ramos said Mayorga's mother writes him every day.
"She believes he's alive and that he's going to come back to us," Ramos said.
While Ramos and Mayorga's mother have since moved, Ramos said she hasn't changed her phone number. She hopes he'll call.
Anyone with information on Mayorga's disappearance or whereabouts can call SAPD's Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660.
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