Nearly 250 friends and family members remembered missing Maui woman Moreira Monsalve on Wednesday night during a candlelight vigil at Kaahumanu Church.
The 46-year-old mother has been missing for a week and a half, and her three children, Alexis Felicilda, 27, Lono Felicilda, 23, and Tyson Felicilda, 18, thanked those in attendance and prayed for the finding of their mother.
"We're not going to let this go away," Alexis Felicilda said. "We're going to keep looking until more information is found and we find her. If there's one thing I was good at it was being driven and bulldozing my way through life. My mother always told me that I bulldoze through life and sometimes miss the good things that try to find me, but right now I think being a bulldozer is what I have to do."
Lono Felicilda (from right) and Alexis Felicilda light candles alongside their brother, Tyson, during a candlelight vigil in honor of their missing mother, Moreira Monsalve, on Wednesday night outside of Kaahumanu Church in Wailuku.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Alongside Monsalve's children were the missing woman's parents, Euclides and Helen Monsalve. The couple joined the group after arriving from Arnold, Md., on Tuesday night.
"Moreira was our baby," Euclides Monsalve said to the crowd of supporters. "I still remember when she was a week old, she slept right here on my shoulder for two years. I can't tell you how close we were."
Before the vigil outside the Wailuku church, each person was given an LED candle and a pink ribbon with the words: "Moreira - We won't rest until you are found."
Alexis Felicilda and her brothers held traditional candles and embraced one another at the ceremony.
"We've been working hard as a family every day," she said. "I haven't seen the family together like this since I graduated high school - 10 years ago. So just the support has been tremendous, and it helps us with our loss."
While Alexis Felicilda lives on Maui, Lono Felicilda serves in the U.S. Air Force in Albuquerque, N.M. He said that he needed permission from the military to return to Maui. He arrived Saturday to help with search efforts for his mother.
Tyson Felicilda currently is living with his father.
Monsalve was last seen Jan. 12 around 10 p.m. at her ex-boyfriend's residence in Wailuku. Earlier that day, she attended a meeting with Tyson Felicilda at the University of Hawaii Maui College. The two left in separate vehicles.
Monsalve then picked up Alexis Felicilda and had a beer with her at the Hang Loose Lounge in Kahului before dropping her daughter off at Kahului Airport.
"We were just talking story," Alexis Felicilda said, adding that they did talk about the ex-boyfriend. "We have a very open relationship with each other so we know everything about each other's lives."
Alexis Felicilda said there was nothing out of the ordinary about her mother or the conversation.
"It's really difficult," she said. "The fact that not knowing and not having closure. I think some people are just hoping and praying that she's being held captive somewhere."
Maui police spokesman Lt. William Juan said that the case is still classified as a missing person's case and that detectives are following up on leads.
"There are no updates at this time," he said Wednesday.
Monsalve's parents said they will being staying on Maui until Tyson Felicilda, a Baldwin High School senior, graduates in June. Euclides Monsalve said they are staying to see whether he would like to come back with them to Maryland.
"I know my mother would really want him to focus on getting into college because it's his second semester," Alexis Felicilda said of her brother, whom she has tried to keep out of the media spotlight. "My mother and him were filling out his FASFA (federal financial aid form) that Sunday so I know he's hurting a lot because he was her baby. But I'm trying to keep him focused on getting him to college."
Alexis Felicilda said that volunteers will be holding a large search Saturday in the central and north central area of Maui "thanks to some leads by the Maui Police Department."
For information on the search and other developments, go to the "Mowatch missing person Moreira Monsalve" Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mowatch moreiramonsalve?ref=br_tf.
Monsalve is described as 5 feet 7 inches and about 170 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call police at 244-6400.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at email@example.com.