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Authorities searching for recent BYU-Idaho grad who vanished in Florida a week ago


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Noemi Boliva | Courtesy Photo

REXBURG — A recent Brigham Young University-Idaho graduate appears to have vanished last week in Florida.

Authorities believe 21-year-old Noemi Bolivar disappeared sometime on the afternoon of Feb. 11 at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Broward County, according to a Hollywood, Florida, Police Department social media post. Her mother, Marycel, told CBS Miami it is not like her to disappear and fears “someone may have taken her.”

Bolivar returned to Florida last year during the outbreak of COVID-19 and graduated from BYU-Idaho in December with a degree in plant and wildlife ecology.

Her former BYU-Idaho roommate Marthe Winward told Bolivar enjoyed exploring Rexburg but would always return home when darkness fell.

“She wouldn’t do anything super reckless,” Winward said. “She’s never said anything like she wants to leave home or just be left alone.”

Winward said Bolivar is on the autism spectrum and considered high functioning. Despite her challenges, Winward described Bolivar as smart and clever.

“So many of her close friends are up here (in Rexburg),” Winward said. “It’s hard to put it into words … (but) it could happen to anyone.”

Another one of Bolivar’s former roommates, Summer Heaton, is believed to be the last person to speak with the missing woman. Heaton explained the two were talking over Snapchat the afternoon of Bolivar’s disappearance.

“We had been having a super casual conversation,” Heaton said. “It didn’t feel like anything was off.”

Bolivar is reported to have told her family she was going on a walk. Heaton said Bolivar had sent Snapchats from a bus then started sending them from the nature center.

The two talked about Bolivar not getting an internship she wanted, but how she was applying for other jobs. Then the messages stopped. The next day, Bolivar’s family contacted Heaton to tell her she disappeared.

“She would never just run away, she would never just leave home,” Heaton said. “I just want people to know how impactful she was to so many people. She really just needs a lot of thoughts and prayers sent her way.”

NBC 6 South Florida reported later the night of her disappearance, Bolivar’s phone pinged near a beach boardwalk three miles away before going silent.

Search teams have looked for Bolivar for days now. Friends, family and other volunteers have also canvassed the Hollywood, Florida area with fliers displaying Bolivar’s picture.

“Lot’s of people have just banded together to help … because of how crazy of a situation this is,” Heaton said. “I feel like there is some hope.”

If anyone has information about Bolivar’s whereabouts or disappearance is asked to call the Hollywood, Florida, Police Department at (954) 764-HELP.