Was Spokane Valley woman kidnapped?

Was Spokane Valley woman kidnapped?
Loc Nguyen was seen on December 3, 2018.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives are hoping a cell phone discovered in the Spokane River will unlock the secrets to the case of a missing woman.

Loc Nguyen, 24, seemingly vanished on December 3 after leaving work at a convenience store. On Wednesday, detectives filed a warrant to search her cellular phone which was found half-submerged in the river, two days after she was last seen.

Family members told KXLY4 News that Nguyen left work at a convenience store near downtown Spokane at a little after 7:00pm on December, 3. She was driving a 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan.

According to the warrant, the Metadata on a photograph downloaded from her phone shows that she was at the Northpoint Shopping Mall, in north Spokane, less than an hour after leaving work.

Detectives say they viewed video of her purchasing a bottle of alcohol at Total Wine & More and buying cat treats at the nearby Pet Smart. Detectives note that there doesn’t appear to be anyone with or following Nguyen in either of the stores.

According to the warrant, at 9:05pm on December 3, Nguyen sent a text to a family member that read “I go to friends house I will be home late tonight.” That was the last time her friends or family had any contact with her.

“We understand the family is very upset and wants her home safe, so do we, and we’re trying to do everything we can to locate her,” said Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy Mark Gregory.

Two days later, her vehicle was located in the parking lot of the Centennial Trail at Mirabeau Park. Inside, detectives found the unopened bottle of alcohol she’d purchased at Total Wine & More and the cat treats. They also found her purse with more than $100 cash inside. Investigators say there was no blood or any evidence of a crime taking place in the vehicle. The keys were not found.

The sheriff office said the river and surrounding area was searched but there was no trace of Nguyen found. They even used search and rescue dogs, but no scent was found.

Her phone was found by a person who was hiking near the large rocks by the river in Mirabeau Park. The phone had a locked screen on it and detectives were only able to view three pictures, one of which showed a woman’s hand, which they presume to be Nguyen’s, holding the bottle of alcohol purchased from Total Wine & More.

Detectives have not ruled anything out at this point and are searching for evidence of a kidnapping. They are asking for the records relating to Nguyen’s phone such as all incoming calls and texts. They hope the information will help them identify anyone she had contact with or was planning to meet after she left work on December 3.

“We really do not know what has occurred and where she may be and that’s why we’re continuing to do everything we can,” Gregory said.

Anyone with information about the location of Loc Nguyen is asking to call Crime Check at 456-3322.

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