Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Monica Bonilla

Guillermo and Rosemary Bonilla

Real Name: Monica Judith Bonilla
Case: Lost Daughter
Location: Burbank, California
Date: September 22, 1982


Details: The Bonillas of Burbank, California, seemed like the perfect family. Guillermo and Rosemary were married and had a young daughter, Monica. According to Rosemary, in 1980, after the murder of John Lennon, Guillermo’s behavior began to change radically. One day, he woke up and said to her that John had reincarnated in him. After that, Guillermo took it upon himself to do everything possible to look like him. He let his hair and beard grow out and purchased clothing that John would wear. These changes made things worse for their marriage, because they basically had nothing in common left.
On September 22, 1982, Rosemary returned home from work and made a shocking discovery. Their house was completely empty; all of their furniture and possessions were gone. Guillermo stripped the house of everything, even the light fixtures. He also damaged items related to their wedding. But most importantly, he took Monica, then five. The next day, one of his relatives contacted Rosemary and told her that she would never see Monica again. Two months later, a judge awarded Rosemary custody of Monica. But with her daughter still missing, the judgement was virtually meaningless.
Rosemary never lost hope that Monica would be found. She prayed for her safe return. She found hope in faith, but lost it and regained it over and over. She just hoped against hope that Monica would be found. Since the kidnapping, she moved to Los Angeles, remarried, took the last name Levi, and had a son, Dorian. She spent over $20,000 searching for Monica. Despite this, eight years passed with no leads in the case.
Suspects: Guillermo Ruiz Bonilla

Extra Notes: This case was not originally profiled on the show. It was, however, featured in an update on the February 6, 1991 episode as a result of tips coming in after the November 21, 1990 episode on Nyleen Marshall. Monica was one of the first missing children featured on milk cartons in California.

Monica (right) reunited with Rosemary and Dorian

Results: Solved. On November 21, 1990, Unsolved Mysteries featured the case of four-year-old Nyleen Marshall, who vanished in 1983 while picknicking with her family near Helena, Montana. It was assumed that she had been abducted. As a result of the broadcast, hundreds of viewers called the telecenter with possible sightings of Nyleen. One of the callers was a school official in Vancouver, British Columbia. They said that Nyleen may be living in the tiny community of Point Roberts, Washington, under an assumed name.
Every day, a twelve-year-old girl named “Mary Ann Kelly” was driven to school in Vancouver by her father, “Robert William Kelly”. School officials who came in contact with Robert felt that he was suspicious. First of all, he was difficult to contact; he never had a telephone number where he could be reached. If they asked him for an address, he would say that they were between addresses.
School officials were especially concerned about Robert's actions when he would drop off Mary Ann at school. When school would start, she would go into her classroom. He would get out of his car and look into the classroom’s windows to make sure she was there. Her teacher was especially frightened by this.
After the broadcast, Mary Ann’s teachers began to suspect that she was Nyleen. School officials contacted the FBI, who put Mary Ann and Robert under surveillance. The agents also reviewed her school records and discovered that they were false. Initially, agents were afraid to approach Robert; assuming that he was Nyleen’s kidnapper, they did not want to spook him and allow him to escape with Nyleen.
In December 1990, FBI agents arrived at the Kelly home with a search warrant. They searched the house extensively. Eventually, in a closet, they found a box labelled “bathroom articles.” In it was a photo album with pictures of Guillermo, Monica, and Rosemary, and Monica’s birth certificate. It became clear that Mary Ann was not Nyleen, but was, in fact, Monica.
Guillermo was arrested and agreed to surrender himself to Los Angeles authorities to face charges of parental kidnapping. Monica, then thirteen, was taken into protective custody. When questioned, she told the FBI that she was well cared for by Guillermo. However, she also said that he told her that Rosemary was dead. On December 22, Monica was finally reunited with Rosemary. She also met her half-brother Dorian, whom she never knew she had. Rosemary felt that Monica’s discovery via a mistaken identity was a “miracle” and “God’s will” because he took pity on her.
Although Monica’s story had a happy ending, sadly, Nyleen has never been found.