Bay Area woman kidnapped in Mexico while walking dog, FBI says

Monica de Leon Barba was kidnapped in Mexico on Nov. 29, 2022, the FBI said.

Monica de Leon Barba was kidnapped in Mexico on Nov. 29, 2022, the FBI said.

Via the Help Us Find Monica De Leon Facebook group

The FBI is offering a $40,000 reward for information regarding a missing 29-year-old woman from San Mateo who went missing in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, last year.

Monica de Leon Barba, a United States citizen, was kidnapped on Nov. 29, 2022, while walking home with her dog, the FBI said in a Thursday news release.

The FBI’s San Francisco Field Office told SFGATE that she had been spending most of her time in Mexico since June 2022. De Leon Barba is 5-foot-7, weighs 240 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes, according to the FBI’s kidnapping poster.

A Facebook group with more than 1,000 members titled “Help Us Find Monica De Leon” includes family and community members who have shared flyers and posts spreading awareness about the incident.

“Since the time of my sisters' kidnapping we have all seen the news of multiple US Citizens that have been robbed of their freedom while traveling in Mexico,” wrote Gustavo De Leon in a post Thursday in the Facebook group, after the FBI announced its reward offer. “We cannot allow this to be the status quo and I will not allow my sister to become another statistic of cowardice and inaction in politics.”

This comes after several other U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Mexico in recent months, according to the FBI. Maria del Carmen Lopez, a 63-year-old woman, was likely kidnapped in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, on Feb. 9; on March 3, four U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas, just over the border from Texas, the FBI said.

The State Department has a “Do Not Travel” advisory in place for both Colima and Tamaulipas and a “Reconsider Travel” warning for Jalisco due to crime and kidnapping.

Individuals with information to share about de Leon Barba’s location should contact their local FBI office, American embassy or consulate, or submit a tip. The tip line is 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Tips can also be submitted online at

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