Anthonette Christine Cayedito: Disappeared from New Mexico in 1986

Published: Updated: 12 comments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Saturday, April 5, 1986, Penny Cayedito left her three daughters in the care of a babysitter while she went out to a bar called Talk of the Town. She relieved the babysitter around midnight and allowed the girls to stay up to play.

Cayedito said her oldest daughter, Anthonette Cayedito, 9, slept with her that night.

At 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 6, Cayedito got out of bed to wake her daughters up for bible school. Anthonette was not in her mother’s bed and was nowhere to be found.

After frantically searching for her, Cayedito called the police and found no evidence at the scene. A search began to no avail, and the investigation was eventually halted.

One year later, a call came into the Gallup, New Mexico Police Department. The caller claimed to be Anthonette and stated that she was in Albuquerque. But before she could say another word, an unidentified male voice said, “Who said you could use the phone?” The girl screamed, and the call ended.

Cayedito heard the call recording and was optimistic that it was her missing daughter, but she did not recognize the male voice. The call was too short to be traced by the police.

Anthonette Cayedito: newspaper photo of her mother, Penny Cayedito
Penny Cayedito/Albuquerque Journal

Four years later, another tip came in. A waitress in Carson City, Nevada, informed local police she had served a couple and a young girl about 14 or 15, the age Anthonette would have been then. While the waitress was there, the girl intentionally pushed her fork off the table, and every time, the waitress would put it back on the table. (Ew). When the waitress did this, the young girl would squeeze the woman’s hand hard. The waitress finally walked away without getting the apparent hint that something wasn’t right with this picture.

After the couple and young girl left, the waitress returned to their table and noticed the girl had left a note. “Please help me! Call the police!”

Because of this tip, the police reexamined the case and re-interviewed Anthonette’s sister, Wendy Cayedito, who was five at the time of the disappearance.

Wendy claimed someone knocked on the door at 3 a.m., and Anthonette asked, “Who’s there?”

“Uncle Joe,” replied the knocker.

Anthonette opened the door and found two unknown men – one Hispanic, one black – on the other side. They grabbed her, kicking and screaming, “Let me go, let me go!” and fled the scene.

The one calling himself Uncle Joe was not her real Uncle Joe, who the police questioned and ruled out as a suspect.

Asked why she had never told anybody about that night until now, Wendy replied that she was afraid she would get into trouble because her mommy was crying.

Anthonette’s case appeared on Unsolved Mysteries in 1992.

In 1999, the police hoped to question Cayedito again on her deathbed, but they were too late. She died before they got there. The police believed she knew more about her daughter’s disappearance than she was telling. One reason was that Cayedito had failed a polygraph test.

Despite an extensive investigation, Anthonette has never been found, and her fate remains unknown. Police believe she is deceased.

The fact that the young girl at the restaurant tried to get help is heartbreaking. Whoever she was needed to be rescued that day.

It’s a shame we will probably never know what happened to Anthonette unless she’s alive today and comes forward. I believe she very well could be alive. Until her body is found, there is always hope she will one day return.


Mary Roan January 9, 2017 - 8:33 PM

This story, like many other child abduction stories, are heartbreaking. This occurred 25 miles from where I live. It was common that adults would go to ToT, was it was called, especially on weekends for the country and western dances, live bands, alcohol to have fun. It was the norm I guess. So it isn’t surprising to me how the mom went to ToT and returned. She might have had a little to drink which is why she didn’t wake to hear her daughter screaming as she was being abducted a few hours later. I don’t think she had anything to do with her own daughter’s abduction. If anything she may have felt guilty for not waking at the time.

Francis Controne March 29, 2016 - 1:20 PM

Those Unsolved Mysteries segments were pretty mild and often left out key contextual information, surrounding circumstances, etc. If you read about the story from other sources or via the family now on social media, it seems very likely that this wasn’t just a random abduction. I’m from a blue-collar family and lived in a working class neighborhood. There’s a reason nobody abducted me from MY home at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night in 1985.

Holymoly August 5, 2015 - 3:25 AM

Why would the mother be lying? I mean that’s horrible. Then again it did say that she went to a bar and left her kids with a babysitter. Perhaps someone followed the mother when she Got back from the bar and waited for time to pass so the child could answer the door?

truecrimediva August 5, 2015 - 12:49 PM

I’m not sure if she lied, what the reason would be. But maybe something happened at their home and she lied to cover it up. Maybe the version of events that we know are not the truth. I honestly don’t know and of course, she could have been telling the truth. There is a chance that someone followed her from the bar but how would they know about Anthonette? Did they know the family? How would they know that she would answer the door? It’s a mystery indeed!

Melinda Torres Vigil March 16, 2015 - 4:21 PM

I am her friend. I believe she is alive. Please tell the Gallup police and inbox me your info. I will forward to my best friend, her sister Wendy

anonymous September 7, 2016 - 5:01 PM

Good to know. This is the most upsetting case of all the unsolved mysteries I’ve watched and I really hope she is found.

anonymous January 11, 2015 - 4:24 PM

He was a suspect in the west mesa murders and I believe that he didn’t work alone. He also worked with LE, a high powered attorney who oddly helped a man get out of jail who sold his 15yr old for drugs. This state is very corrupt. There’s many women missing here

truecrimediva January 11, 2015 - 9:00 PM

Yes, I was reading about all of that today. It doesn’t surprise me that LE was involved. I did a series of posts about police corruption in Albuquerque a couple of years ago. I was shocked by how bad it’s been for YEARS. It’s awful.

anonymous January 10, 2015 - 8:48 PM

Is it possible that Anthonette is still alive? A deceased pimp named Fred Reynolds (Have Mercy Escorts) worked with a beautiful woman who resembles this little girl and he was very protective over her. Last I remember, this woman stayed in what I believe is the Valley in Albuquerque. I’m sure many of Albuquerque missing women are associated to him. Is it possible Anthonettes mother knew him?

truecrimediva January 11, 2015 - 8:56 AM

Thanks for commenting! That is very interesting about the pimp. I do believe there is a very good chance that Anthonette is alive and I also believe that her mother knew more about the abduction than she let on. So, yes I think it’s possible that she knew this pimp. I’ll try to look into this.

vik February 15, 2016 - 10:26 PM

truecrimediva- any updates on this?

truecrimediva February 16, 2016 - 6:27 AM

Sadly, no. I wish there were!


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I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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