In an effort to keep this case in the spotlight, I’m bringing you a missing persons case that took place in February 2006. The mainstream American news barely touched on the story, but the small town of Paraná where Carla Vicentini is from covered the case intensely.
Carla Vicentini is from Brazil, her native language being Portuguese and speaks very little English. In 2006, just one month before she went missing, she arrived in the United States in Newark, New Jersey, as an exchange student. Born April 29, 1983, Carla was 23 years old when she went missing. She was so excited and happily took the opportunity to come to the United States after saving up her money.
As part of her exchange program, Carla was assigned a job at White Castle, a fast food restaurant, and was living in a small motel room with other women who were also in the same program, but she started to become really unhappy with these arrangements. She switched jobs and started working at the Mediterranean Manor, living with another exchange student. At the time of her disappearance, Carla was an engineering student.
The news coverage in the United States has really failed Carla- there was one excerpt on her disappearance in the local newspaper in Newark, NY, and all other media barely touched her case. In her hometown, the news of Carla’s disappearance made headlines all over.
Carla went to visit a friend who was working at Adega Bar and Grill, a Portuguese restaurant in Newark, New Jersey, on February 9, 2006. She was seen drinking and talking with a man at the restaurant.
He is described as:
a Caucasian man in his thirties
height is 5’9
weight around 200 pounds
short salt and pepper hair
Carla told her friend that she was going to his car to look at a picture and talk, and she may have been a little intoxicated at the time that she went.
Carla was last seen leaving the restaurant around the 100 block of Ferry Street in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark.
Carla- last seen:
White sleeveless shirt
Blue Hugo Boss jacket
Blue or white jeans
Light brown high-heeled ankle boots
Belly button piercing
Sports watch on left wrist – Mormaii
Large silver ring on ring finger
Two silver rope necklaces- one with a pendant
One really interesting aspect of this case is that Carla is believed to have actually went home after she left the restaurant. Her wallet, passport and jacket were all found at her apartment on Ferry Street, but she was never heard from again.
The man she was last seen with is considered a person of interest in her disappearance.
After she went missing, her boss received a disturbing call from someone screaming for help. The caller was never identified and it was unclear whether the call was related to her case or not.
Carla’s mother believe that she was murdered. She said that Carla never went more than a couple days without talking to her family and she kept in touch incredibly well.
In 2015, nine years after her disappearance, advertisements started popping up on digital billboards across New Jersey, with the reward for tips leading to Carla or the man she was last seen with, increased to $20,000.
Carla’s disappearance is entirely frustrating. The media should have covered her story so, so much better, especially on the first day and the weeks and months after.
Getting a missing persons face out there for the public to see is absolutely necessary. Why wasn’t her case being covered more? I can only think that because she was an exchange student, this would have looked incredibly bad for the program, as well as the country in terms of exchange students. I was an exchange student myself in Germany and I understand the fear of not being able to speak the language perfectly, but being in a situation where you need help and potentially not being able to do something about it is heartbreaking.
Was Carla’s roommate at their apartment at the time? When was the last time she saw her?
Were there no security cameras in or around the restaurant that could identify the man? Were security cameras checked at or around Carla's apartment?
Did the man come back to her apartment with her, then potentially drug her and remove her from her home?
Human trafficking is a big issue in almost every country, especially in the United States, and I can’t help but to think that an exchange student who doesn’t speak English fluently is an easy target. They may not have known she was necessarily in an exchange program, thinking not many people would look for her – and that’s exactly the opposite of what happened.
They were seen talking – did the man know Portuguese? This was a Portuguese restaurant. Were they barely getting by? Maybe she didn’t understand most of what he was saying and he took advantage of that situation.
This is truly heartbreaking. I need to get her picture out there more. I don’t think she’s dead. I believe she is still alive.
Please help me get her story and her face out there more. Share this post. Share her picture. Share other news stories about Carla.
It is not known whether Carla is or was involved in human trafficking, but the likelihood is large.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
1 (888) 373-7888
233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")
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Anyone with information in the case is urged to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Newark Division, at 973-792-3000.