The 18-year-old Arizona girl who went missing in 2019 turned up at a Montana police station this week because she wanted to get a driver’s license — and some local residents think she may have been hunkered down on a nearby reservation.
When Alicia Navarro walked into a Havre, Montana, precinct to request that she be taken off the missing persons list Sunday, she was looking for a way to begin living “a normal life,” authorities said.
“She simply wanted to identify herself so she could get a driver’s license,” Gina Winn, a police spokesperson in Glendale, Arizona, where the teen went missing in 2019, told The Post Saturday.
“I’m not entirely sure the reasons she wanted to get a driver’s license specifically, but … she expressed [a] desire to live a normal life.”
The Daily Beast first reported on Navarro seeking the driver’s license.
The Glendale Police Department is working with the FBI, US Marshals and police forces in Montana to investigate the circumstances surrounding Navarro’s September 2019 disappearance, when she “willfully left her home” shortly before her 15th birthday.
“I ran away. I will be back. I swear. I’m sorry,” the teen, who has been described as high-functioning autistic, wrote in a note she left for her family.
A former next-door neighbor in Glendale said Navarro and her brother and sister “were happy and well cared for” by their mother, Jessica Nunez, but noted that he didn’t see or interact with the missing teen much.
“She stayed inside a lot when she lived here,” Roger Clark, 76, told The Post Saturday. “The other two children I would see but I didn’t communicate with them.”
Alicia Navarro’s mysterious reappearance: What we know so far
Who is Alicia Navarro?
Alicia Navarro is a previously missing 18-year-old from Arizona who unexpectedly turned up in a Montana police station nearly four years after her disappearance.
When did she disappear?
In 2019, the girl left her family’s Glendale, Arizona, home in the middle of the night just a few days before her 15th birthday. Her parents found a handwritten note from Navarro saying: “I ran away. I will be back. I swear. I’m sorry.”
Where was she found?
Navarro walked into a police station in a tiny Montana town about 40 miles from the Canadian border — and some 1,000 miles from home — and identified herself as the missing girl from Arizona.
Is she facing any charges?
Authorities in Navarro’s hometown of Glendale, Arizona, said the teen is not facing any criminal charges and is not in any kind of legal trouble.
Why did she leave?
Alicia’s mother, Jessica Nuñez, previously raised concerns that Navarro, who was diagnosed as high-functioning on the autism spectrum, may have been lured away by someone she met online.
‘What’s going on here’
Residents of Havre were shocked to hear that Navarro emerged so far away from home in their tiny town, which is about 40 miles south of the Canadian border and has a population of just 9,200.
“I’m glad she landed in Havre, Montana, because we are a community that cares and wants the very best for her,” Ila McClenahan, 71, told The Post at a farmer’s market Saturday.
“All of Havre is wondering what’s going on here,” added her friend, who didn’t want to give her name.
A clerk at McLean’s Grocery, who also did not want to be identified, said the situation “is weird to me.”
The staffer noted the town is surrounded by at least two reservations, Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap, the latter of which sued the Biden administration in October for not providing enough funding to support its police force.
“If you commit a crime, that’s the place to go because they’ll never find you,” the clerk added.
One resident doubts that Navarro had been living nearby.
“It’s really odd that in a small town nobody would recognize her,” said Stephanie, 50, a waitress at Wolfer’s Diner. “I don’t think she’s been here. Everyone here knows everyone … but you never know what goes on behind closed doors.
“Maybe she’s brainwashed. Who knows what’s going on.”
When she walked into the Havre police station Sunday, Navarro said she had not been harmed by anyone, but ex-FBI agent Jim Egleston said she showed signs of Stockholm Syndrome and may not be aware she is a victim.
“I don’t see how this is likely without some other person being involved, and if another person was involved, you have to question their motives, of course,” Egleston told AZ Family.
Since resurfacing, Navarro has “spoken briefly” with Nunez but is still in the Treasure State as of Friday, the family’s private investigator Trent Steel told The Post Friday.
Nunez will travel to Montana to see Navarro, and while the teen’s father is “aware” of the situation, Steel did not know if he will accompany his ex-wife when she does make the trip.
Navarro is “interested in being reunited with her entire family” but has not indicated whether she will stay in Montana or return to Arizona, he added.
The teen’s family is elated “Alicia has been found alive and safe,” they said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the family did not respond to a request for comment about the license or Navarro’s Montana whereabouts.
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