The disappearance of Chula Vista mom May "Maya" Millete has gripped San Diego County. Here's a look back at the key moments in her case as her family continues to search for answers.
The CVPD’s investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on Millete’s whereabouts can reach out to detectives at (619) 691-5139 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
The Disappearance of May 'Maya' Millete and the Search for Her
Jan. 7, 2021
According to Chula Vista police, Maya, 39, was last seen by her family at her home on Paseo Los Gatos at around 5 p.m. on Jan. 7. This was two days before the family was set to travel on a planned trip to Big Bear for her daughter’s birthday. Maya has three children, ages 4, 9, and 11. Investigators said Maya has not answered phone calls or text messages since Jan. 7.
Jan. 9, 2021
At 11:18 p.m., Maya's sister, Maricris Drouaillet, calls Chula Vista police to report her sister is missing.
Jan. 10, 2021
CVPD Lt. Miriam Foxx confirmed police officers arrived at Maya's home along the 2400 block of Paseo Los Gatos in Chula Vista at around 1 a.m. on Jan. 10 to investigate the report of Maya's disappearance. It was at this point that investigators learned that Maya had vanished three days prior. The search for the missing mom began.
Family and friends said Maya’s car was still at her home but phone calls went straight to her voicemail after her disappearance.
For the next two weeks, Maya's family, the community and police searched for her.
Investigators described Maya as 5 feet, 2 inches and 105 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and freckles. Her family said she has a tattoo on her wrist.
Jan. 23, 2021: The Search Warrant
On Jan. 23, CVPD Lt. Miriam Foxx said that investigators had served a search warrant at Maya's home. Searchers were looking to “obtain any evidence and clues to her current whereabouts.”
“The Chula Vista Police Department’s focus will continue to be locating May safe and in good health,” Foxx said.
Police said Maya's family had been and continued to be cooperative in the search for the missing woman.
Feb. 4, 2021
Nearly a month into the search for Maya, her family -- including her sister, Maricris Drouaillet, told NBC 7 they continued to search for her day in, day out.
“We feel so helpless and also so desperate for answers,” Drouaillet told NBC 7.
The family had plastered posters of the missing mother all over Chula Vista. Searches continued along the hills near her home, not far from Mt. San Miguel Park.
Drouaillet said detectives told her that her sister’s husband, Larry Millete, had retained a lawyer and was no longer cooperating with the investigation.
Foxx would later confirm this, too.
Police have never named Larry as a suspect in the disappearance of his wife. Drouaillet told NBC 7 Larry was the last person to see her sister.
In recent weeks, Drouaillet said, he has been distancing himself from his wife’s side of the family.
“We can’t imagine him doing anything to our sister,” Drouaillet said.
Drouaillet said the situation has been hard on everyone.
Feb. 5, 2021
Chula Vista police and Maya's family held a media briefing on Feb. 5 and made emotional pleas to the public to keep the search going and to help bring the missing mom home.
Between sobs, Drouaillet spoke about the family's mission to find Maya.
“I'm pleading: Anyone out there, please, anybody, somewhere, somehow might know where my sister's whereabouts is,” Drouaillet said. “Please, bring her home…her kids, they need their mom. Please, help us find my sister. Anyone out there, if you have any information at all, please help me, help us find my sister. And from the bottom of our hearts, please, we thank you, we thank you, and we thank you.”
CVPD Chief Roxanna Kennedy said detectives were working around the clock on Maya's case and that details couldn’t be shared so as not to compromise the investigation.
The chief also said the Maya Millete case had hit a nerve with the department.
"I want you to know that I'm a mother," an emotional Kennedy said. “And my children are my world, and I know that May's children meant everything to her. And I want you to know that to hear that May missed her daughter's birthday hit home with many of our officers and our detectives here at this department that are also parents.”
Also on this day, right after the briefing, Maya's family held a Find Maya rally in Chula Vista. The group wanted to make sure there was no lag in the investigation and to keep the interest high on the case.
Drouaillet said her sister and her husband, Larry, had been "having marital issues" but nothing more than the “ups and downs” experienced by most couples.
“They break up, or, you know, they have arguments and they try to reconcile for the sake of the kids,” Drouaillet said.
Feb. 7, 2021
Maya's family spoke in-depth with NBC 7 about their heartache and the ongoing search for the missing mom.
“It’s unthinkable,” Maya’s brother-in-law Richard Drouaillet said. "It’s agonizing. Every day it’s just a terrible feeling."
Maya's family said her abrupt disappearance and lack of communication is uncharacteristic of her. Maricris Drouaillet said that, deep in her heart, she's still hoping for the best.
“I don’t want to lose that hope, that she’s still OK and that she’s still with us,” Maricris said. “I know that there’s a lot of possibilities and they can happen, but I want to think, still in my heart, that she’s still with us.”
Feb. 11, 2021
NBC 7 anchor Mark Mullen spoke with Maya’s sister and brother-in-law, Maricris and Richard Drouaillet about the last time they saw Maya.
“We were actually out camping, right there at the Glamis Dunes – Glamis Dunes Imperial Valley – last new year. So, Jan. 3 was the last time that we did – we saw her,” Maricris Drouaillet said.
Maricris Drouaillet said it was tough to see her sister and Larry Millete on that trip, knowing “they had been having marital problems for the last year.”
“They tried to work it out,” she told NBC 7. “They did have, you know, marriage counseling, and we did try to kind of help them out to work out their relationship. But it’s been on and off, on and off.”
Maricris Drouaillet said on that camping trip, they saw “a lot of arguments” between the Milletes.
“We felt sometimes uncomfortable about it, too,” Maricris Drouaillet said. “But you know, we were just praying and hoping they would be able to work it out. We didn’t see this coming, you know, after that.”
The family told NBC 7 they were expanding their search for Maya into Glamis since that’s a place she loved to go and that’s the last family trip the Drouaillets took with the Milletes.
In this interview with Maya's family, NBC 7 learned more about who she is as a person and mother.
Feb. 16, 2021
NBC 7 reached out to the CVPD for any possible updates on Maya's case. Foxx said, at this point, there were no known suspects in the disappearance of Maya.
Foxx said Larry Millete was still not cooperating with police, nor was he helping with the search parties.
Feb. 28, 2021
Maya's family and friends held two search parties in different parts of San Diego County: Dehesa and Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. In Dehesa, the group stumbled across bones; the San Diego Sheriff's Department confirmed they were animal bones.
Family, friends and even volunteers who do not personally know Maya said they were determined to continue searching for the missing mother, even if the days continue to pass without answers.
March 7, 2021
March 7 marked exactly two months since Maya vanished. Her family, alongside friends and volunteers, held a special walk and prayer for her at a park in Chula Vista.
Although the days are turning into weeks and now months, they're still holding out hope they will find Maya. They vowed to keep searching for her so her case doesn't turn cold.
Maya's sister, Maricris Drouaillet, told NBC 7 that investigators told her family they had finished compiling the results of the Jan. 23 search warrant served at the Millete home. She said there's "a lot to go through," but the family hopes to learn more soon.
Foxx said the CVPD did not have any updated on the case and detectives continue to "actively investigate" Maya's disappearance.
April 5, 2021
On April 5 – nearly three months after the disappearance of Maya – CVPD Chief Roxanna Kennedy released a statement reassuring the public that Maya’s case “is not forgotten.”
“Bringing her home safely remains our number one priority,” a press release from the department read.
Kennedy said the CVPD continues to actively investigate the mother’s disappearance.
“We understand and recognize the sense of frustration from May’s family and the community with each passing day. We all want answers,” Kennedy added.
The CVPD said it is working with the FBI and San Diego County District Attorney’s Office on the case and added, “Every resource available is being utilized.”
The police department warned against sharing misinformation about Maya’s case on social media and said anyone with details on the case – even the slightest detail – should directly contact the CVPD at (619) 691-5151.
April 7, 2021
April 7 marked exactly three months since Maya vanished. CVPD Lt. Dan Peak detailed the investigative steps from the department on this high-profile case, which he said includes:
- Interviews with 47 of Maya’s family members, friends, neighbors and witnesses.
- The writing of 12 search warrants, which includes homes, cars, cellphones and electronic devices, call detail records, financial records, social media, and cloud data. Peak said one of these warrants was for Maya’s home on Jan. 23.
- Review of 40+ tips regarding this case.
“Detectives are reviewing multiple items of evidence and going over thousands of pages of data in the hopes of finding May,” read a press release from the CVPD on April 7.
Peak thanked the ongoing efforts of volunteers who are searching for Maya.
He said the CVPD will provide updates on the case every two weeks “until significant information or a break in the case occurs in the investigation.”
April 21, 2021
As promised, two weeks later, on April 21, Chula Vista police released the latest info on Maya’s case. The CVPD announced a formal partnership of a “multi-agency group” working on the case of the missing mother, which includes the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
CVPD Lt. Dan Peak said the primary goal of the group is “bringing May home to her family or bringing justice to May’s family regarding her disappearance.”
As of April 21, the CVPD said investigators had conducted 55 interviews with Maya’s family, friends, neighbors and witnesses and written 16 search warrants that include homes, cars, cellphone and electronic devices, financial records, social media and cloud data.
One of the warrants was for a home belonging to one of Maya’s relatives, which was searched on April 1.
The CVPD said it is also aware of “several bangs recorded on a video security system near the Millete residence during the night of May’s believed disappearance.”
“These bangs are being reviewed and analyzed by investigators in the hope of determining if they were gunshots,” the CVPD’s update read. “It is also important to note the Chula Vista Police Department did not receive any report of gunshots during the night in question and these bangs were discovered by investigators early on in the investigation.”
On Feb. 3, 2021, hikers found human remains on a trail in Santee. This prompted many questions to Chula Vista police and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department about the identity of those remains and if they were those Maya Millete's. Both agencies said they had no reason to believe the remains were those of the missing mother.
On Feb. 7, 2021, law enforcement officials found the body of a woman in Lake Murray in San Diego’s East County. The San Diego Police Department was handling that investigation.
NBC 7 reached out to Foxx with the CVPD to see if there were any links to Maya's case. Foxx said that based on initial reports, investigators did not think the body was that of Maya Millete.
On Feb. 10, 2021, a body was discovered in the San Diego Bay, near where North Harbor Drive meets West Laurel Street, south of the U.S. Coast Guard San Diego Sector’s headquarters. NBC 7 reached out to Foxx just after 8 p.m. to ask if this was Maya. Foxx said it was not. The Harbor Police Department would also confirm the body found in the bay was a man.
On the night of April 19, officers discovered the body of a woman in Glorietta Bay in Coronado. The Medical Examiner’s office determined the woman was 68 and had accidentally drowned. Again, this was not Maya.