OAKLAND, CA -- Oakland police are searching for a woman who's been missing for almost three weeks.
Alicia Amanda Stokes went out on a Sunday morning and said she'd be right back. That's the last time anyone saw her.
Tonight Oakland Police forensic technicians collected potential evidence from the apartment of 33 year-old Alicia Amanda Stokes, known as "Mandy."
She hasn't been seen for 19 days. Now homicide detectives have the case.
"We move cases from missing persons to the homicide section when think there's some elements of foul play," said Sgt. Derwin Longmire from the Oakland Police.
Sgt. Longmire won't disclose what they've found. What we know: Stokes left her Merritt Avenue apartment on November 25. Tonia Stanley spoke with Stokes' brother.
"He said she left Sunday morning and told her brother she would be right back," said neighbor Tonia Stanley.
Two days later, stokes' black Honda Accord showed up on Park Blvd. near Leimert Blvd. by a ravine.
"The doors were locked. Her wallet was in there with her ID so now I know she has no way to purchase anything. She couldn't be in a hotel or anything like that," said the missing woman's sister Genna Stokes.
Genna stokes is the missing woman's younger sister. They have a big family -- eight kids from North Carolina, and Mandy never goes a day without calling one of them.
The family posted flyers and searched near Diamond Park near where Mandy's car was found. Mandy's picture and plight are on the web.
This neighborhood has a manicured look but neighbors say more and more crimes are happening here. One woman who lives in Stokes' building had her car broken into twice in three months. And about the same time Stokes disappeared, a man was mugged right here on this corner.
"I walk my girlfriend to and from her car or if she comes on the bus, I walk her here because we don't feel safe here," said Stokes' next door neighbor Josh Seidnfeld.
Mandy came to the Bay Area to study psychiatry. Genna now wears her sister's favorite necklace and says while she's hopeful she's also frightened.
"I'm scared, every time it's raining or at night especially, it scares me because I'm thinking where is she sleeping, who is she with," said Stokes.
Oakland police homicide investigators are helping in the search of a woman who hasn't been seen since she left her apartment near Lake Merritt almost a month ago.
Alicia Amanda Stokes, 33, was last seen Nov. 25 when she left her building on Merritt Avenue, authorities said. Two days later, her locked 2001 Honda Accord was towed away for blocking traffic on the 5000 block of Park Boulevard in East Oakland, about 2 miles from her home. Inside the car - which had a dead battery - were Stokes' cell phone, wallet and iPod, police and relatives said.
On Friday, police and crime-scene technicians searched the apartment she shared with her younger brother in hope of finding clues to her whereabouts. Stokes, who goes by "Mandy," is considered a missing person, but homicide investigators have been called in to help, police said Wednesday.
Homicide Lt. Ersie Joyner would not say Wednesday whether police think Stokes was the victim of a crime.
"We did serve a warrant at her residence looking for biological evidence and we still need the community's help with any information in regards to her disappearance," he said.
Family members said Stokes had an argument with her brother shortly before she vanished, but they discounted the possibility that he had anything to with her disappearance. She left their apartment between 8 and 10 a.m. on Nov. 25 and never returned.
"I do feel like she's still alive," Stokes' mother, Deborah Murray of Atlanta, said Wednesday. "It's possible that somebody could have taken her. She could have memory loss. Maybe she's at a homeless shelter."
It's also possible that Stokes is "a little bit depressed," because the anniversary of her father's death was Dec. 3, Murray said.
"It's not like her to not call her family, so that's what is the most concerning," said Stokes' cousin Aubrey Ness, 24, of San Francisco.
Murray said she last spoke to her daughter early Nov. 25, a Sunday morning.
Stokes was taking psychology classes at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill but had put her studies on hold. She was planning to move back East to be closer to her family and had begun packing when she disappeared, Murray said.
Genna Stokes, 19, of San Francisco said the family is "really worried," but that she believes her sister is alive.
"I know that they don't have any proof that she's not alive," she said of homicide investigators. "I think (their participation) is maybe just to give it more opportunity to do more things, like investigate the apartment."
Genna Stokes said she's wearing her sister's favorite green jade necklace as a sign of hope.
Relatives and Stokes' boyfriend, who lives in New York, have scoured Dimond Park alongside Park Boulevard and passed out flyers in the area and along Grand Avenue, where Stokes used to work at a cafe, as well as in Berkeley and San Francisco.
Stokes is white, 5 foot 4, weighs 120 pounds and has blond hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to call Oakland police at (510) 238-3641.
OAKLAND — Oakland police homicide detectives have joined the search for Alicia Amanda "Mandy" Stokes, who has been missing for more than a month.
The former Cafe De Bartolo employee left her apartment on Merritt Avenue between 8 and 10 a.m. Nov. 25, telling her brother she'd be right back.
Relatives said she did not say where she was going. She never returned.
Police said Stokes, 33, and her brother had an argument before she left the apartment but investigators have not said what the fight was about. Police interviewed the brother but did not release further details.
Two days later, police found Stokes' 2001 black Honda Accord blocking traffic in the 5000 block of Park Boulevard. Her wallet, iPod, and cell phone were locked in the glove compartment, police said.
It is common practice for homicide investigators to look for a missing person. Police have not found any evidence to indicate she is dead. The woman's mother, Deborah Murray of Atlanta, said Stokes and her younger brother, who is 28, shared an apartment. Stokes had planned to move to New York to be with a boyfriend, her mother said.
Police have searched her apartment for clues to her disappearance, and tracking dogs have scoured the area where her car was found. Stokes had attended John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill but had taken a semester off, her mother said.
While she was not currently employed, she had worked at Cafe De Bartolo on Grand Avenue. Many missing persons fliers of the woman have been posted in the Grand Lake area.
People in cyberspace have also joined the search by posting missing persons listings on craigslist.org and offering a $1,000 reward for her safe return. The networking Web site Tribe.net also includes a missing persons alert.
Stokes is about 5 feet 3 inches tall, 120 pounds and has green eyes and blonde hair. Anyone with information about her or the case should call 238-3641.
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