SoCal resident missing for 3 weeks after disappearing on hike in El Salvador

Anabel Munoz Image
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
SoCal resident missing for 3 weeks after hike in El Salvador
José Tomás Lainez disappeared while on a hike with family in the area of San Vicente in El Salvador.

It's been three weeks since a Southern California resident went missing while on a visit to El Salvador, and his family is desperate to find him.

José Tomás Lainez disappeared while on a hike with family in the area of San Vicente, said his wife and son.

"We haven't heard anything and we're just desperate," said his wife.

It was humid and over 100 degrees as the group hiked, got lost, and eventually made it to the river they were looking for, she said.

Lainez's son described the region they went hiking through as a "secluded jungle area."

Loved ones said the 54-year-old was hot and decided to head back to the car after they reached the river, but he disappeared.

"Maybe he broke a leg, he fell, maybe he fainted," his son added. "That's what we thought for the first week."

The Lainez family said he is an experienced hiker and is familiar with the region. They now fear he may have been kidnapped. They asked Eyewitness News not to share their names in fear they could be targeted.

Lainez's family said he was eager to return home. He has worked for the LAUSD for close to 30 years, and was just promoted from bus driver to supervisor.

Police in San Vicente confirmed to Eyewitness News they are still searching for Lainez. His family said the FBI is also assisting.

We reached out to the agency, although it typically does not confirm nor deny possible investigations. Eyewitness News also reached out to the State Department and has not heard back yet.

"He's a happy person. He works so hard to take his vacation every year to El Salvador, and we're devastated," said Lainez's wife. "We're going into three weeks now and we don't know anything."