National Hispanic Heritage Month: Cesilia Pena

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Cesilia Pena, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Manhattan on October 6, 1976, while on her way home from┬áSt. Alphonsus Commercial High School.

Cesilia lived in the Bronx and took the subway to and from school; this article talks about the route she might have used. She was tiny, less than five feet tall, and she looks very young in her pictures.

She may have been accosted by Anthony “Rudy” Flores while on her way home that day; a witness reported seeing them together, with Flores holding her by the arm. Flores is also a suspect in the disappearance of Nelida Del Valle from Boston later that year.

Flashback Friday: Cesilia Pena

It’s Flashback Friday again and today I’m going to talk about Cesilia Pena, who disappeared from New York City on October 6, 1976. (This is the day after my birthday, but I wasn’t born for another nine years.) Cesilia was fourteen years old when she went missing but in the photos she looks much younger. She was tiny, only four feet nine inches tall and a little over 100 pounds. She disappeared while taking the subway from her parochial high school in Manhattan to her family’s apartment in the Bronx.

What makes Cesilia’s disappearance a little unusual is that someone might have actually seen her abduction in progress. A witness reported seeing Cesilia looking frightened, with a man holding her by the arm. The witness identified the man as Anthony “Rudy” Flores. Although he maintains his innocence (of course), Flores is considered a person of interest in Cesilia’s case and in the disappearance of another young Hispanic girl from Boston who also went missing in 1976. He was later convicted of the rape and murder of a mother and daughter and sentenced to life in prison.

If Rudy Flores was truly involved in Cesilia’s disappearance, she’s probably dead. I’ve tried to find more information about him, but drew a blank. I don’t know the names of the murder victims, and his own name is too common. There are probably at least a dozen men named Anthony Flores in the New York prison system and I’m not even sure this one is still alive.