North Las Vegas police are waiting for DNA testing to determine whether a mystery girl found in Wisconsin is Everlyse Cabrera, a child reported missing in North Las Vegas almost two years ago.
Mark Hoyt, a spokesman with North Las Vegas police, said authorities are acting on a tip from a law enforcement agency in Green Bay, Wis.
Police there found a young girl in a home last week during a drug arrest. Hoyt said the law enforcement agency contacted North Las Vegas police after learning the girl might be from Nevada and finding in a national database that Everlyse was missing in Clark County.
Everlyse was 21/2 years old when she disappeared while in foster care June 10, 2006. The foster parents responsible for her told police that Everlyse had let herself out of the house sometime in the night.
There is no proof the girl in Wisconsin is Everlyse, Hoyt said. The links between the Wisconsin girl and Everlyse are that both are Hispanic and a photograph of the Wisconsin girl shows a resemblance to Everlyse, Hoyt said.
North Las Vegas police didn’t know the age of the Wisconsin girl.
Everlyse would have turned 4 in January.
"The cops over there are telling us they can’t prove who the little girl belongs to in the household" she was found in, Hoyt said. "We don’t know if this is credible."
Clark County Family Services spokeswoman Christine Skorupski said a lead regarding Everlyse was being pursued.
"We can confirm that we’ve been contacted by an out-of-state child protective services agency regarding Everlyse Cabrera but can’t provide the details," Skorupski said Wednesday night.
Police are passionate about closing the Everlyse investigation, a frustrating case that has produced few leads for investigators.
"We want the little girl back. We want to find her," Hoyt said. "We either want closure in a good way or a bad way. But we want closure."
Police are treating the tip like every other tip they get, Hoyt said. North Las Vegas investigators have not been sent to Green Bay.
The man arrested in Wisconsin told Green Bay police conflicting stories about where the girl was from, Hoyt said. He originally said California but then said Nevada.
Hoyt said the man could not account for how he got the girl.
Hoyt said he didn’t know how long it would take for North Las Vegas police to get the DNA test results. He said it could be a day or months, depending on whether Green Bay police made the case a priority.
The 2006 disappearance of Everlyse while in foster care was key in launching a wholesale effort to reform Clark County’s system of child welfare.
It also erupted in a federal lawsuit brought by the girl’s birth parents against eight individuals and Clark County Family Services. The suit alleged that Everlyse was endangered when she was placed with foster parents who were poorly screened, trained and supervised.
Everlyse entered the child welfare system after she was removed from the care of her birth parents, Ernesto Cabrera and Marlena Olivas, because of their illegal drug use, court records said. She was placed with foster parents Manuel and Vilma Carrascal.
A case review performed for Clark County identified 16 findings and concerns with how Everlyse’s placement was handled, including: failure to ensure that the Carrascals completed required training; inadequate investigations into how a foster child suffered serious burns in the Carrascal home in 2005; and poor communication within Family Services about problems with the couple’s performance as foster parents.
The Carrascals were dropped from the federal lawsuit last year, after they agreed to a $300,000 settlement that was paid by the county’s insurer for foster parents. The money was placed in trust for Everlyse.
Court records show that on April 7, Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leavitt stayed lawsuit proceedings against Melvin Balane, the adult son of the Carrascals, because he had declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Balane owned the house from which Everlyse disappeared.
E. Brent Bryson, the attorney who represented the Carrascals in the lawsuit, said he hopes the child in Wisconsin is Everlyse.
"It’s wonderful news," Bryson said. "I hope indeed that it is (her) and this whole matter can be brought to closure."
Review-Journal writer Brian Haynes contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at email@example.com or (702) 383-4638. Contact reporter Lisa Kim Bach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0287.