‘Find Anji Dean’
Anyone with information about Angelic “Anji” Dean should contact Major Crimes Unit Det. Scott Kirgiss with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office at 397-2028.
A Facebook page has been established at www.facebook.com/HelpFindAnji?fref=tsi.
A “Vigil of Hope” for Anji Dean will be held Sunday, July 13, beginning at 7 p.m., at Homestead Park, located at Southeast 160th Avenue and 18th Street, in Vancouver.
They are words no mother expects to read when she picks up her daughter’s journal.
“If you’re reading this, I am either missing or dead.”
But those are among the unsettling statements written recently by teenager Angelic “Anji” Tracy Dean. Just weeks after printing those words, she disappeared from her Camas home and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. That journal, which also includes messages to her younger sister and brother, was later discovered by her family, hidden in her room.
Anji, 17, is believed to have left her house near 192nd Avenue between the hours of 9 and 10:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23.
Her mother, Lynda Jorgensen, said it seemed like a typical day.
After Jorgensen came home from work in the evening, she and Anji went for a walk in their neighborhood, pushing her 2-year-old brother in a stroller. They stopped to take pictures of some deer and toss rocks into a pond. Jorgensen was coming down with a cold, so after they returned home she made a quick dinner and around 9 p.m. took her toddler up to her room to watch a movie. Anji brought her some candy they had just purchased.
“That was the last time I saw her,” Jorgensen said, clutching the silver key pendant that hangs from a necklace that belongs to Anji. When she went to say good night to her daughter at approximately 10:40 p.m., Anji was gone.
Jorgensen said in recent months Anji had been dealing with what her family thought might be some episodes of “teenage angst” and “normal teenage girl depression.”
“Now we are kind of finding out that there was a different, underlying reason,” she said. “She had been telling some people for a while that she was involved in something, that she was in over her head, that she was scared. But they couldn’t get any more information than that out of her.”
Anji’s journal hints at some of those fears and troubles. In addition, she sent her boyfriend some ominous text messages the day she went missing, saying she was in danger, and that people had threatened to kill him and her family. Her boyfriend is cooperating with law enforcement.
“She has never been out on her own for more than a day,” Jorgensen said. “We assumed she was with her boyfriend, or something like that. We had the police talk to him as well. The moment we found out she wasn’t with him, that’s when we really started freaking out because we had no idea where she was.”
According to Michelle Bart, president and co-founder of the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation — a Vancouver-based organization that has been working with Anji’s family through a referral by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office — it is now believed that Anji “has been trafficked, or is in a position of that nature.”
Anji was last seen wearing black exercise tights, white Nike tennis shoes with light green soles and a white razor back tank top. She may also be carrying a white backpack.
She left behind several items of importance including her prescription eyeglasses, bank cards, makeup and clothes, as well as some medications.
“What we see traditionally is if you’re running away from home because you don’t like the rules or you’re running away from something, that’s not against the law, but those types of individuals will take something with them,” Bart said. “If you’re being lured away, you are told to leave things behind so that nobody can track you. That’s the difference.”
Investigators with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office are interested in speaking to an African-American male, approximately 25 to 35 years of age, with a goatee, who drives a light blue older model, square body Volvo. He was seen by a neighbor dropping Anji off in front of her home on June 23 at 4:30 p.m.
Although the Facebook page set up by the family, “Help Find Anji,” has received nearly 40,000 views, and the story has received local and national news coverage, so far there has been no confirmed sightings of Anji.
“She just walked out the door and nobody has seen or heard from her,” Bart said. “Despite all of the media hits in the last week, there is still nothing from her.”
Police believe, however, that she is still somewhere in the Vancouver-Portland metro area.
Anji and her family moved to Camas from Vancouver in June 2013. She attended Mountain View High School during her freshman and sophomore years, and Camas High School for her junior year. She is scheduled to begin her senior year at CHS in the fall.
Jorgensen describes her oldest daughter as a person who is loved by many, is very organized, enjoys helping others and cares deeply for her three siblings.
“She’s a great big-sister,” she said. “She loves her sister and her brothers. She’s awfully close with them.”
Anji has been involved in a variety of school and extra-curricular activities, ranging from competitive cheerleading and drama to singing and dancing. She is also a talented artist.
Anji has participated in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Explorers program, which gives youth ages 15.5 to 21 the chance to observe the criminal justice system. Anji has several family members who have jobs in law enforcement, and she has expressed aspirations to do the same.
“She has everything going for her,” Bart said.
Jorgensen said she still has no idea where her daughter could be. During the past two weeks, she and her husband have been driving around all of the places in the Portland-Vancouver area that they could think of, desperately searching for Anji.
“I just don’t know how it could come to this,” Jorgensen said.