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: A Mother, Missing
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: Where Is She?
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: 'We Feel So Helpless'
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: One Month Later - 'Please Bring Her Home'
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,” 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: A Family, Hurting
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: Remembering the Last Time They Saw Maya
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: Search Parties Continue
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: Two Months Later - A Walk and Prayer for Maya
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: Three Months Later - 'Not Forgotten'
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: Multi-Agency Group Working on Case of Maya Millete
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.
Maya worked as a civilian on a Navy base; her husband, Larry Millete, works at the (Balboa) Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
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.”
April 26, 2021: Maya's 40th Birthday
As Maya’s 40th birthday approached (May 1), her family said they were hurting more than ever. Her sister, Maricris Drouaillet, said Maya had dreamed of spending her birthday with her family at the Grand Canyon. Instead, her family will spend the day at Fiesta Island, praying for her safe return.
“It’s really, really hard for me this week,” Maricris Drouaillet told NBC 7. “I’m feeling it more, heavier."
Maya’s family said they’re losing hope they’ll see her alive ever again. May 7 will mark four months since she vanished.
Her brother-in-law, Richard Drouaillet, said the investigation has been frustrating for the family.
“I feel like it should have been a homicide a long time ago,” Richard Drouaillet said. “This whole 'her getting up and leaving her kids' would never happen. It’s just so obvious what’s going on, and, unfortunately, it’s too bad that they don’t see it that way.”
Maya’s husband, Larry Millete, maintains he had nothing to do with her disappearance. At this point, he remains a witness, not a suspect, in the case.
“I’m still hoping he doesn’t have anything to do with my sister’s disappearance,” Maricris Drouaillet said on April 26. “I still, in a way, want to believe his story, but it’s tough for the family to really believe him.”
The family is working with former U.S. Navy investigator and defense attorney Billy Little, who has been working independently to find Maya.
Little said he has an audio recording of what appears to be eight gunshots caught on a neighbor’s home security camera on the night Maya disappeared.
May 1, 2021 & May 2, 2021: We Haven't Seen Her in 114 Days
Maya's family marked the missing mother's 40th birthday with a gathering at Fiesta Island. It had been exactly 114 days since she was last seen.
The next day, on May 2, her family led a search effort in Bonita.
Maya's family said they had also created a new website with information on how to support their efforts and any future searches, as well as blog updates from her loved ones during this difficult time. Learn more at www.findmayamillete.com.
May 4, 2021: Four Months Later - A Peaceful Rally for Maya
Still searching for answers and days away from the 4-month anniversary of the disappearance of Maya (May 7), her family organized a peaceful rally on May 4 outside the Chula Vista Police Department headquarters on 4th Avenue.
Organizers said on social media that they were "seeking community support in the urgency to find May" and would "be coming together as a community to continue advocating for Maya."
May 7, 2021: A Second Search Warrant Served
For the second time during the investigation of Maya's disappearance, Chula Vista police served a search warrant at the home the missing mom shared with her husband and children.
Police said Maya's husband, Larry Millete, who has not been named as a suspect in the case, was not home at the time of the search.
CVPD officers arrived at the home at around 4:30 p.m. on May 7 and were still on the property after 11 p.m. Officers were seen loading things into the back of a van parked in the driveway while others led K9's around the property. What appeared to be rifles and boxes typically used to store ammunition were loaded into the van. Meanwhile, 60 to 70 supporters of Maya's family surrounded the property as police worked.
Maya's sister and brother-in-law raced down from Riverside, California, after friends told them an arrest warrant was being served. They found out while on their way that it was just a search warrant.
"It's been a nightmare. No family should go through this," her sister said. "Every night we are crying, praying we could see my sister soon. In the morning, we are crying. We don't have any clue where she is. It is heartbreaking."
May 9, 2021: The Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order and Larry Millete
Larry Millete was served with the order on May 5, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department public records.
A Gun Violence Restraining Order is a court order that prohibits the person from having in his or her custody or control, own or possess, or receive any firearms or ammunition while the order is in effect. The petitioner must convince the Judge that the person to be restrained poses a significant danger in the near future of:
- causing personal injury to himself/herself, or another person by having:
- in his/her custody, or control, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.
Police will come and remove the guns or the person can store them with a licensed gun dealer while the restraining order is in effect.
The order is set to expire on June 22. NBC 7 reached out to the Chula Vista Police Department for more information but we did not immediately hear back from police.
May 14, 2021: More Searches for Maya
Retired Army Major Ed Dames told NBC 7 he was also searching for Maya. Dames runs the Matrix Intelligence Agency and uses remote viewing to find missing people.
This week, Dames sent Maya’s sister the coordinates of a place in Campo, California, where he believes Maya’s remains will be found.
You can read his story, here.
May 19, 2021
The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) released its bi-weekly update on the investigation.
This is where the investigation stood, as of May 19:
- The CVPD had conducted interviews with 59 individuals to include family members, friends, neighbors, and witnesses.
- The CVPD had written 31 search warrants to include residences, vehicles, cellular and electronic devices, call detail records, financial records, social media, and cloud data.
- Investigators had reviewed over 75 tips on Maya’s possible location and reason for the disappearance. The tips had come from the local community and from around the country. The CVPD said the most recent tips included possible sightings of Maya in other states like Arizona and New Mexico.
- Based on investigative leads, law enforcement also conducted searches in the area of 500 Hunte Parkway in Chula Vista.
"Investigators continue to review multiple items of evidence and are going over thousands of pages of data in the hopes of finding Maya," CVPD said in a release.
CVPD said they will continue to provide updates every two weeks until significant information or a break in the case occurs in the investigation.
June 2, 2021
Almost five months had passed since Maya’s disappearance when the CVPD released its bi-weekly update on the case on June 2.
“Officers and investigators have remained committed to finding the reason behind her disappearance or bringing those responsible for her disappearance to justice,” the police department’s press release read.
- The CVPD has interviewed 61 people, including family members, friends, neighbors and witnesses.
- 42 search warrants had been written by the CVPD (nothing new since the May 19 update here)
- Investigators said they had reviewed 85+ tips on Maya’s possible location or reason for her disappearance.
- The most recent possible sighting of the missing mom had been “in different areas of California.”
The CVPD said it was still in close contact with Maya’s family, keeping them up to date on any and all details.
June 16, 2021:
New updates include CVPD interviewing three more individuals, two new search warrants issued, and reviewing eight new tips.
This is where the investigation stood, as of June 16:
- Interviews with 64 individuals to include family members, friends, neighbors and witnesses.
- Written 44 search warrants to include residences, vehicles, cellular and electronic devices, call detail records, financial records, social media and cloud data.
- Reviewed over 93 tips on Maya’s possible location and reason for disappearance. These tips have come from the local community and from around the country. Most recent tips continue to include possible sightings of Maya in different areas of California.
- Based on investigative leads, law enforcement has also conducted searches in the area of east Chula Vista to include 500 Hunte Parkway.
July 1, 2021: Another Search Warrant
Chula Vista police served another search warrant at May's home located on the 2400 block of Paseo Los Gatos on July 1.
CVPD said the goal of the warrant was to obtain additional evidence and clues to Millete's current whereabouts.
The move follows Wednesday's announcement that the department had written six more search warrants in the case in the past two weeks.
In the past two weeks, CVPD said on Wednesday, they have conducted four new interviews, having spoken with 68 people in all -- friends, family members and other witnesses. Also, police officials said they had written a half-dozen new search warrants connected to the case and reviewed six news tips, out of nearly 100 they have received.
July 22: Maya's Husband, Larry Millete, Named a Person of Interest
More than six months after her disappearance, the Chula Vista Police Department formally named, Larry Millete, a person of interest in the case.
The declaration came at a hearing on July 21 tied to a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) served at the Millete family home on May 7. Investigators were seen carrying what appeared to be, long guns and boxes of ammunition away from the home.
"Due to the sensitivity of the case and to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not be providing additional information at this time," CVPD said.
July 24, 2021: Family Holds Rally for Maya
Just days after Maya’s husband was named a person of interest in her disappearance, Maya’s family along with volunteers gathered near Seaport Village to rally for answers.
Her sister, Maricris Drouaillet, said the rally was also a way for the family to let the public know that Maya was still missing and the case remained unsolved.
“It’s been tough, to be honest,” said Drouaillet. “It’s been exhausting, physically, emotionally.”
Drouaillet told NBC 7 that her brother-in-law had distanced himself from the rest of the family, including keeping the couple’s three kids from them.
Aug. 12, 2021: The Probe Continues – But Is the Pipeline of Tips Dwindling?
Chula Vista police said on Aug. 12 that investigators on Maya’s case had conducted two new interviews over the past two weeks. The pipeline of tips on the high-profile case appeared to be dwindling – just three new tips shared with CVPD since July 28 had been deemed worth of investigation.
At this point, the CVPD said most of the recent tips were “possible sightings of May in different areas of the country,” but none had panned out.
Sept. 8: Family Court Documents Filed by Husband of Missing Chula Vista Mom
Newly filed family court documents reveal a strain between Larry Millete and his in-laws. The court documents show a fight over the visitation rights of Millete's children.
The family court documents show a back and forth between May’s parents, Pablito and Noemi Tabalanza and Larry over visitation rights over Larry and May’s three children.
In the spring, Pablito and Noemi Tabalanza asked for visiting rights with their three grandchildren. Then on Sept. 2, Larry fired back in a nine-page declaration sharing several accusations as to why he does not want his in-laws visiting their grandchildren.
Sept. 14: Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order Reissued
A Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) against husband Larry Millete was set to expire but was reissued after the case was granted stipulated continuance. A new hearing date was set for Dec. 1
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.