Gone in Gallup: The Kidnapping of Anthonette Cayedito

Pop Culture Crime
3 min readJun 2, 2019

Anthonette Christine Cayedito was born on Christmas Day, 1976, to Penny Cayedito, a Navajo woman, and Anthony Montoya. The relationship between Penny and Anthony dissolved, and Anthonette and her younger sister, Wendy, stayed with their mother in Gallup, New Mexico.

The family had an apartment not far from Route 66. There, Anthonette, who was called Squirrel, spent a lot of time taking care of her siblings. At 9 years old, the young girl had a lot of responsibility.

On April 6, 1986, Penny was at a bar with friends. She returned home at midnight and sent the babysitter home. At about 3 a.m., Wendy reports that she and Penny heard a knock at the door. Anthonette asked who was on the other side, and the individual claimed to be Uncle Joe. When she opened the door, Anthonette was grabbed by two men. She fought and yelled to no avail. Wendy recalled seeing the men put Anthonette in a brown van, but she did not recognize it or the men.

Seemingly, 5-year-old Wendy went back to bed. Penny woke up in the morning at around 7 a.m. to get the children ready for church, only to realize that Anthonette was not home. She talked to her neighbors and called the police.

Nobody could find any trace of Anthonette.

Putting Clues Together

One year after Anthonette’s disappearance, Gallup Police Department received a phone call from a young girl claiming to be Anthonette. Suddenly, an angry male voice appeared on the phone, yelling, “Who said you could use the phone?” The girl screamed, and the phone call ended. Penny claimed the young voice sounded like Anthonette, but she did not recognize the voice of the man.

In 1991, five years later, a Carson City waitress was serving a table including an unkempt couple and a teenage girl. The server claimed that the girl bore a striking resemblance to Anthonette and kept knocking utensils to the ground. At one point, the girl grabbed the server’s hand and gave it a squeeze. When the table left, the server uncrumpled some napkins left on the table. One said “call the police” and the other said “help me.”

The Aftermath

Penny passed away in 1999, and Anthony passed away in 2012. Authorities have some theories about the case. While Anthonette did have an Uncle Joe at the time, police interviewed him and deemed he was not a suspect. Today, authorities believe…

Pop Culture Crime

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