Real Name: Monica Judith Bonilla
Case: Lost Daughter
Location: Burbank, California
Date: September 22, 1982
Details: Five-year-old Monica Bonilla was the daughter of Guillermo Ruiz Bonilla and Rosemary Levi. According to Rosemary, Guillermo's behavior began to change radically after the murder of John Lennon in 1980. One day, he woke up and told her that John had reincarnated in him. After that, he took it upon himself to do everything possible to look like him: he let his beard grow out, he let his hair grow long, and he purchased clothing that John would wear.
According to Rosemary, Guillermo's changes made things worse for their marriage because they had nothing left in common. On September 22, 1982, she came home from work and found their Burbank, California home completely empty. He took all of their furniture and possessions, even the light fixtures. He also damaged items related to their wedding. Finally, he took their daughter Monica. 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. However, with her daughter still missing, the judgement was virtually meaningless. Rosemary prayed and never lost hope that she would see her again. Since the kidnapping, she remarried and had a son, Dorian. She spent over $20,000 searching for Monica. However, there were no leads in case for over eight years.
Suspects: Guillermo Bonilla
Extra Notes: This case was not originally featured on the show. Its update was featured on the February 6, 1991 episode.
Monica was one of the first missing children featured on milk cartons in California.
Results: Solved. On November 21, 1990, Unsolved Mysteries featured a segment about four-year-old Nyleen Marshall, who mysteriously disappeared while picnicking with her family in Helena, Montana. As a result of the broadcast, hundreds of viewers called the telecenter. One of the callers was a school official in Vancouver, British Columbia. The official believed that one of her students was Nyleen, living in Point Roberts, Washington under an assumed name.
Every day, a twelve-year-old girl named "Mary Ann Kelly" was driven to school in Vancouver, British Columbia by her father, "Robert Kelly". Most people who came in contact with him thought he was suspicious. They noted that he was very difficult to contact and had no telephone number where he could be reached. When asked for an address, he would say that he was "between addresses".
School officials were also concerned because of what Robert would do when he dropped Mary Ann off at school. According to her teacher, when she would come into the classroom, he would watch Mary Ann through the windows to make sure she was there. His behavior frightened the teacher. After the broadcast, her 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. The agents wanted to be careful not to spook Robert, whom they believed was Nyleen's kidnapper. In December of 1990, FBI agents arrived at the Kelly home with a search warrant. The house was searched extensively. Eventually, in a closet, they found a box labeled "bathroom articles". In it was a photo album with pictures of Guillermo, Monica, and Rosemary, along with Monica's birth certificate.
It became clear to investigators that Mary Ann Kelly was not Nyleen, but instead Monica Bonilla. Guillermo was arrested and agreed to surrender himself to Los Angeles authorities to face charges of parental kidnapping. Monica told authorities that she was treated well by her father. However, she also said that he had told her that her mother was dead. On December 22, Monica was finally reunited with Rosemary and met Dorian, the half-brother she never knew she had.
Sadly, Nyleen has never been found.
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