Missing Florida Woman Could Be Victim of Human Trafficking: Police
A Florida woman who went missing four months ago in Los Angeles could be a victim of human trafficking, according to police.
Leah Rose Altmann, 27, was last seen leaving her Los Angeles apartment on Aug. 28. She only took a small backpack and left behind most of her possessions.
It wasn’t uncommon for her to travel and leave things behind, but this was different.
It’s been the first time she hasn’t contacted her family for so long. She didn’t even check in for her November birthday, which, her family said, was out of character. She also left behind her makeup—another unusual move for her.
“This local girl may possibly be a victim of Human Trafficking,” stated the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter.
Leah Rosa Altman is #Missing and could be in trouble. This local girl may possibly be a victim of Human Trafficking.
Leah is 4'9" and about 90lbs. Last seen at 1154 E 25th Street Los Angeles, CA, leaving everything she owns behind. pic.twitter.com/xHsCdwHTkw
— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) December 26, 2017
Leah ’s mother, Lynda Santamaria, lives in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, and has been very worried.
“No banking for three months, no texts, phone calls, or Facebook. Of course a mom fears that,” she said, Palm Beach Post reported. Santamaria said she learned about Altmann’s banking from police investigators.
“I have two children and each have half my heart,” she said. “I literally feel like I’ve been functioning with half a heart.”
The sheriff’s office didn’t specify why it believes Leah could have been trafficked.
But the prospect unnerved her father Paul Altmann.
“I hope it’s not true,” he told People. “The best-case scenario would be that she’s doing whatever she wants to do. She’s doing a gig and not paying attention to the fact that people are looking for her.”
Still, it’s hard for him to believe that’s all there is to Leah’s disappearance.
“I want to believe that she’s okay and that she voluntarily went off the grid,” he said. “But when my eyes close at night, that’s not what I see. I think about the bad things that may have happened to her.”
“There are so many explanations,” he said. “Could it be drugs, alcohol, mental illness? Sure. Could she have been kidnapped? Yes. She’s this little girl, and I think about what could have happened to her. But we are holding out hope.”
Leah has done audio-visual and stagehand work in Los Angeles. She went through some personal issues that estranged her from her family, but the relationship has improved over the past year, her mother said.
Both the sheriff’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department have put out missing person posts, asking the public to help find Leah.
She’s been described as 4 feet 9 inches and about 90 pounds, blue-eyed with blonde or dyed hair.