Family Speaks Out After Woman Missing in Mexico for Decade Adjusts

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UPDATE: Tues 11:18 PM, Feb. 11, 2014

She left as a 16-year-old girl, however, she is now back home in Medford as a woman and a mother of three.

"They're (Connie and her children) home. They're safe," Connie McCallister's aunt Florence Volzka said. "We know where they're at. She's been through an awful a lot of things that people never will understand. Mexico is not the place to be."

Volzka said it was not McCallister's choice to travel to Mexico.

"She (Connie) said they went across the border and nobody checked, nobody did anything," Volzka said. "It's very easy to slip in and out of this country."

McCallister lived in Mexico for the next nine years.

"It's not always paradise in Mexico," Volzka said. "Their showers were outside. Their toilet was a hole in the ground."

McCallister said she was abused for years, and eventually she ran into an American woman missionary while working at a Walmart.

"(McCallister was found at) Walmart selling puppies," Volzka said. "She (The missionary woman) spoke English, and she looked American."

During NewsChannel 7's Monday interview with McCallister's aunt, McCallister walked in the home, daughter in hand.

McCallister left Freddie Ruiz in Mexico and now police have suggested charges in the US. However, her aunt doesn't think the charges do justice.

"She was 15 years old," Volzka said. "I think he should be charged with rape. I think he should be charged with taking her across state line to another country."

McCallister now starts to adjust.

"Connie just wants it over with and doesn't really care what happens to him, " Volzka said. "But, if he came back here, I want him prosecuted."

McCallister may try to forget the bad.

"There is a silver cloud, and she survived," Volzka said.

But finally, McCallister can focus on building on to the good.

"Sometimes she doesn't remember everything, and sometimes it comes back in bits and pieces," Volzka said. "She's adjusting well, and we're doing the best we can."

Volzka said Ruiz still lives in Mexico.

McCallister said she got away from Ruiz and then became involved with another man who fathered her first child while in Mexico.

She said he was abusive as well.

After that leaving that abusive relationship, she married her current husband, who is the father of her other two kids.

Volzka said McCallister loves her husband and is working to help him move to the US.


UPDATE: Tues 1:31 PM, Feb. 11, 2014

New documents detail the events leading up to a nearly decade old missing person case.

According to a press release from the Wausau Police Department, last month, Connie McCallister, who was reported missing from the area in 2004, provided a summary of the circumstances the day she left Wausau, and a summary of what happened in Mexico over the past nine years.

McCallister, then 16, said she was a party on August, 15, 2004 when she was picked up by her then boyfriend's roommate, Chapo. She said they arrived in Chicago the next day and meet up with her boyfriend, Freddie Ruiz. McCallister said the men told her they were going back to Wisconsin, but she said the next sign she saw said “Welcome to New Mexico”.

McCallister told investigators she told the men she did not want to go to Mexico and believes she was drugged and taken to the county.

McCallister said they arrived at Ruiz's mother's home in Sinaloa, Mexico; some 2,000 miles away from Chicago. She told investigators last month she did not believe she had any options, because she did not know how to speak Spanish. She said Ruiz told her she was going to live in Mexico and listen to him.

McCallister told investigator she did not believe she was kidnapped, but rather tricked into going to Mexico.

Police are referred Freddie Ruiz to the Marathon County District Attorney’s Office for interfering with child custody, and contributing to truancy.

UPDATE: Thurs 4:44 PM, Feb. 6, 2014

NewsChannel 7 has learned a woman who vanished from the area almost ten years ago is back in the U.S. and living safely in our area.

Connie McCallister was found in Mexico last year. Police say they were given the impression she was a runaway, until she told officers she was drugged and woke up south of border back in 2004. That's when this story started making national headlines.

Thanks to local friends and family and the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults, she was brought back just before Thanksgiving.

McCallister's family tells NewsChannel 7, she's now living in Medford with her three children but has been asking for privacy.

Police and the Division of Criminal Investigation are looking into the case.

More details are expected to be released next week.

ORIGINAL STORY: Wed 9:36 AM, Nov. 6, 2014

The Wausau Police Department said a former missing teen from Wausau now living in Mexico will be removed from Missing Person records as she is an adult living there voluntarily.

Connie McCallister, now 26, was just 15-years-old in 2004 when she was reported missing.

The Wausau Police Department said for the past several years Police have heard from friends and family members that McCallister was in Mexico, was married, and had three children with her husband.

In September, Police were able to make contact with McCallister via Skype and verified it was her.

McCallister indicated she was fine and living with her husband and three children in Mexico. When asked, Connie indicated she would like to come back to the U.S. but need identification and identification for her children.

On Wednesday, NewsChannel 7 spoke to Connie's mother, who now lives in Florida. She said if Connie did return to the United States, she believed she'd come back to Wausau as her [Connie's] brother still lives in the area.

Connie's family says she disappeared after her boyfriend at the time took her to a party in Milwaukee and then drugged her and brought her to Mexico against her will.

The Wausau Police Department directed her to resources that could help her in getting this type of documentation, and possibly return to the U.S.

To get Connie home from Mexico it may take time and money as she does not have a passport, or passports for her children. And since her children are not yet U.S. citizens each child must be DNA tested to prove they are hers.

To help, Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens is hosting a soup dinner Sunday, Nov. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend.