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Mystery Involving Missing Mom Widens

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SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a South Los Angeles mom deepened Sunday when family members learned the restaurant where Marta Michel told them she worked, said she was actually only a customer.

Michel, 49, is the mother of three.  She was last seen waiting for a bus, about midnight, on January 19th.

Her family said she was last seen leaving her once-a-week job at Casa India, a restaurant on 4th and Broadway. But today, the restaurant said Michel — while a frequent customer — never worked there. Sonia Nolasco, the restaurant manager said, “Sorry. But I want to make it clear, she never worked here.”

Reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, Kara Finnstrom spoke to the woman’s distraught family.

Michel’s husband, Rigoberto, and three children (a daughter and two young sons) passed out fliers Sunday.

“Every day that passes my worry, my distress is much, much more,” said her husband. He had trouble reconciling that his wife didn’t actually work at Casa India. His daughter translated, “It hurts that she never told the truth (about this.) It hurts.”

David Michel, her 10-year-old son, said “We miss her a lot. We want her to come back.”

The family says Michel walks with a limp (due to a swollen knee) and that she is is diabetic with high blood pressure and in need of her medication — and all of her meds are at home.

The woman’s daughter, Diana Michel, a freshman at UCLA, believes her mom was kidnapped. She said she would never voluntarily leave her children.

Nolasco says Michel left the bar and restaurant about 10 p.m. at closing and that she saw her, about two hours later, waiting for the bus. “When we left, we saw her on the corner of Broadway and 4th. She was standing there by herself waiting for the bus.”

Diana Michel said, “It’s very confusing. All we know and all we care about is ‘Where is my mom?’ That’s all we’re focusing on right now.”

The family told Finnstrom that Michel was a devoted and dedicated mother which makes her disappearance all the more puzzling.

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