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…