Cold Case: Detectives don’t believe mother’s disappearance in ‘94 was voluntary

STANWOOD — She never came back for her boy.

Detectives don’t know if Judith Bello-Medina had the choice. They haven’t been able to ask her.

Bello-Medina has been missing from Stanwood since Dec. 13, 1993*.

Her disappearance is part of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office’s cold-case playing cards. Bello-Medina is on the eight of hearts. She is among seven people included in the deck of cards who vanished under suspicious circumstances.

The playing cards have gone to jail and prison inmates around the state. Detectives hope someone will call them with new clues about the whereabouts of the missing people, as well as tips about unsolved homicides.

The Snohomish County deck is the first of its kind in the state.

Bello-Medina, 28, worked at the National Food Corp. in Silvana at the time of her disappearance.

She had left her 3-year-old son at day care and never returned.

That same day her gray Ford Tempo was found abandoned at the Stanwood Post Office.

“She never called. She never wrote,” the missing woman’s brother, Daniel Bello, said. “It’s just been a long time.”

The family also hasn’t seen Bello’s son in more than a decade, because shortly after she disappeared her husband took him away. The boy, now 17, called his grandmother in Mexico before she died a few years ago, Daniel Bello said.

Detectives believe the woman’s disappearance is suspicious. She was close to her family. She wouldn’t have abandoned her boy or missed her daughter’s 15th birthday celebration, a milestone in the girl’s life.

Sheriff’s detective Kelly Willoth recently took over the search for the missing woman.

Willoth said she’s hoping to track down Bello’s husband. She’d like to talk to him.

The detective also requested that Bello’s relatives submit DNA samples to a national database. Forensic samples from unidentified remains can be tested against those collected in the database as a way to identify the deceased.

“We want to know,” Daniel Bello said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

* Correction, Dec. 1, 2011: Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives have corrected the date that Bello was reported missing. The cold case card featuring Bello contains the incorrect year.

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