FBI investigates case of missing Washington teen who may be in Mexico

SEATTLE — A Washington family believes their teenager is missing in Mexico. They first filed a report about Shelbie Lynn Dwyer with the Des Moines Police Department last year. Now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken over the case.

On Wednesday, Shelbie’s mother describes what’s been 14 miserable months without her daughter.

“I miss her so bad,” said Stacy Hurt, Shelbie’s mother. “My heart hurts so bad for her.”

Shelbie was 17 years old when she told her family she was going to take a trip to Mexico. 

“She went out there with a friend she thought she trusted, and she never came back,” said Hurt.

Shelbie left on March 25, 2023. While she was traveling, she would sporadically talk with her mom over the phone. Then one day, she stopped calling, Hurt said. 

Hurt called the local police department who contacted the FBI. Investigators said it appears Dwyer traveled by car to Tijuana.

“We believe that when she got to Tijuana she got on a plane, and flew to Sinaloa, taking a layover in Guadalajara and landing in Culiacan,” said Steve Vienneau, a supervisor special agent in the FBI Seattle office. “The last known information we have shows her being there on the March 29, 2023.” 

At that time in that area, the U.S. state department had a travel advisory, warning of violent crime and kidnappings.

“We are concerned that the last place she was known to be was a place that is dangerous for Americans to be,” said Vienneau.

For her family, hope remains despite the passing days. 

“I love her, and I miss her, and I think about her every day, and I just want her to come home,” said Hurt. “Just not knowing where she is at breaks my heart. I am having hope and faith that she comes home. I am not giving up hope. I am not doing that.”

If you have any information on Shelbie’s case, you are asked to contact your local FBI office, the nearest American embassy or consulate. Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov. 

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the recovery of Shelbie Lynn Dwyer.