Safford motel workers speak out following mystery of missing toddler

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Safford motel workers speak out following mystery of missing toddler

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Jul 11, 2014

SAFFORD, Ariz.(KGUN9-TV) - Motel managers say nothing seemed out of the ordinary when 28-year-old Anna Marie Sanchez and boyfriend, 23-year-old Joseph Cisneros, checked into Safford's Tour Rest motel.

But by June 26, just three-days later, Sanchez' sons were taken on motel grounds by child welfare workers and the search for a missing three-year-old Thatcher girl was just beginning.

Tour rest employee, Selina, watched it all unfold," It looked like the older one was mostly taking care of them and making sandwiches and stuff like that and they just kind of left them," Selina, who asked to not disclose her last name or show her face, told 9OYS.

"I have a very big, very close-knit family. So, it's kind of inconceivable for me to understand how a three-year-old could go missing and nobody could mention it [and]  no one could report her missing -- not the grandparents -- not relatives -- especially in a little town like this.
It's heartbreaking. It's really a horrible thing," Selina continued.
The investigation initially started as a child safety case surrounding Sanchez's six and 11-year-old sons. A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety tells 9OYS child welfare workers found the boys alone inside the Safford motel room -- tipped off by Cisneros' probation officer. They interviewed the boys and that's when authorities became aware of their missing sister. More than two-years since her March 2012 disappearance ,police found the toddler's body buried in a Thatcher backyard.

A motel housekeeper says the boys seemed unphased when welfare workers took them away, "The room was trashed and when {DCS} took the kids.  I actually cleaned up their stuff and bagged them. {The boys} were calm as if it were natural."

A spokesperon for the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office says an autopsy for the toddler was scheduled for Friday. It will be a while before the cause of death is released.