Help sought in finding pregnant disabled RI woman

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Family and friends of a pregnant developmentally disabled woman who recently reported being assaulted appealed Monday for the public's help in finding her.

Luisa Pena, 21, hasn't been heard from since Wednesday. She is three months pregnant, has a profound speech impediment and doesn't drive.

Pena's family and friends appealed for help Monday afternoon at Central Falls High School, where Pena attended. Family members said Pena's disability makes her extremely trusting and they worry she may have been abducted.

Wherever Pena is, her uncle Miguel Berroa said, he worries that "she's there because somebody forced her to be there."

Pena recently reported that she had been assaulted, according to high school teacher Jordana Tillinghast. Tillinghast said Pena came to the school Oct. 8 and was "petrified, shaking, sobbing."

An administrator drove Pena to the police station to report the assault before taking her to a hospital.

Pena's family is concerned that her attackers may have learned that she spoke to police and abducted her in retaliation, according to Iraida Williams, a spokeswoman for Pena's family.

"We're just pleading with anyone who sees her, please call the Pawtucket police, any police," Williams said.

Tillinghast said she also worries that Pena may be with a fourth man she recently met at the Pawtucket bus station. Pena said the man had made her promise to keep his name a secret, Tillinghast said.

"I am afraid that she trusted this man," Tillinghast said.

Pena was last heard from Wednesday morning when she made a phone call from the home she shares with her aunt in Pawtucket. When her aunt returned home, Pena was missing.

Pena is 5-foot-7 and weighs 170 pounds. She was last seen wearing hospital scrubs and a sweatshirt.

Police are sifting through tips in the case, according to Mayor James Diossa, including a possible sighting of Pena at a McDonalds in Providence on Sunday afternoon.


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