Petaluma teen goes missing in South Lake Tahoe

January 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Family and friends are searching for a Petaluma teenage girl who disappeared in South Lake Tahoe on New Year's Eve.

Alyssa Byrne, 19, of Petaluma, was last seen at a music festival at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe.

Some of Byrne's friends are on their way to Tahoe to pass out flyers. The young woman's father has been there all day working with police who are tracing her movements over the past few days.

"I just want her home. Her father and I just want her home so we will know she's safe," said Kim Byrne, Alyssa's mother.

The New Year has been nothing, but stress and worry for Byrne and her family. Her daughter hasn't been seen or heard from since shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve. She was in South Lake Tahoe for Snow Globe, a three-day music festival that attracts thousands of partiers. A friend says she suddenly and quietly disappeared from the group at about 11:30 Monday night.

"But that New Year's Eve she didn't say a word. She basically just left and I called her back and she was on the bus back to the hotel," said Jay Donnellan, a friend of Alyssa's.

By phone, Alyssa Byrne said she was going back to the Horizon in Stateline, where the friends from Petaluma were staying. Donnellan says he returned around 12:30 a.m.

"Once we got back to the room, we noticed she wasn't there. We were calling her, back-to-back, sending her text messages," said Donnellan.

Back in Petaluma, her parents had stopped getting any texts from her. They had wished their daughter a happy New Year at two minutes after midnight through a text message.

"That would be in the morning asking, 'Where are you?' Then the next one after we didn't get a response... 'You need to call us now,'" said Byrne as she read out the texts on her phone.

Flyers are now appearing on light poles in Downtown Petaluma. A Facebook page has been set up in an effort to find the missing woman. Her mother says Alyssa has never run away and she's not aware of any trouble in her life. Byrne also says she was not happy about the trip to Tahoe.

"Yes, I had a lot of reservations, but at 19, I didn't see that I could hold her back from it as well," said Byrne.

Byrne's father says police are looking at casino surveillance video and they've traced her last cellphone signal to the area around the Snow Globe concert in South Lake Tahoe. Detectives are also looking at her bank statements to try to find out where she was last and are checking to see if anyone may have seen her since New Year's Eve.