TONASKET, Wash. - The family of a missing Tonasket man is pleading for the public's help, after claiming police haven't done enough to pursue his case because of his criminal status.
"He's just a kid, he needs to come home,” said Alex Vega’s mother and Tonasket resident, Rachael Moreno.
20-year-old Alex Vega was reported missing to the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office on May 22, about two weeks after his family last heard from him in Tonasket.
"He went to the ER. He was supposed to come back and get his things, and he was gone, just like that,” said Moreno.
His family says it’s not like Alex to not contact them.
“He’s never ever been out of contact with us for this long. Ever," said Moreno.
They are now looking for him across Washington State.
“We’ve got the flyers all the way to Oregon,” said Alex’s cousin and Kennewick resident, Allyson Barclay.
His family claims they are not receiving adequate help from police in searching for Alex, due to felony warrant. Officers on the case argue that 20-year-old Alex Vega is on the run, and doesn't want to be found.
"We've talked to the police and asked for their help, but they say because he has a felony warrant they don’t want to look for him, because he doesn't want to be found," said Moreno.
Sheriff Tony Hawley of the Okanagan County Sheriff's Office tells us, "This is a personal choice of his to not be located, possibly due to the criminal warrant that he has."
According to police, Alex Vega is wanted for 4th degree assault, and 3rd degree theft. A police report also indicates a Tribal Officer spotted Alex in Omak on May 19.
"They haven’t done anything that you would think they would do when they were looking for somebody,” said Moreno.
The sheriff argues that there is just too much ground to cover.
"If we don't have a place to start from,” said Sheriff Hawley, “That's the proverbial definition of a needle in a haystack."
To anyone who may know where to look, Alex Vega’s family has this message: “If anyone knows where he is - please let us know,” said Moreno.
At this point, foul play is not expected, and it's not known what county Alex Vega could be in.
His mom says Alex is between 5’6’’ and 5’7’’, and has a scar on the back of his right shoulder.
Anyone with tips should contact the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office at (509) 422-7232.
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