Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Deborah Flores-Narvaez: Death of a Showgirl

Missing Person Investigation

Sonya Sonnenberg
Sonya Sonnenberg

On Tuesday, December 14, Flores-Narvaez's roommate, Sonya Sonnenberg, called the LVMPD to report that Flores-Narvaez and her car were missing. Sonnenberg told police about Flores-Narvaez's plans to watch Dexter at Griffith's home, and said that the plans had been made for 5 p.m. on December 12th. Sonnenberg's account of Flores-Narvaez's plans for that evening appeared to leave a discrepancy in the timeline, however, that was not immediately explained. Video surveillance in the parking garage of her condominium complex placed her there at 7 p.m. If the system's time-stamping feature was accurate, she couldn't have gone to Griffith's home in her own car at 5 p.m., left there at 6 p.m. and ended up leaving her own parking garage again at 7 p.m., unless she had gone back to her condo for some unknown reason. Something just wasn't adding up yet.

The next day at approximately noon, according to an LVMPD police report, Detective R. Garris went to Jason Griffith's home in an effort to obtain additional information. When Garris arrived, he found Griffith in the driveway changing the right rear tire of his 2005 black two-door Chevrolet Cobalt. The detective noted that Griffith seemed reluctant to make eye contact with him, complaining that he was in a hurry and needed to get to work, but was otherwise cooperative. Griffith told Garris that he last had contact with Flores-Narvaez during the late evening hours of December 12. She was in her car at the time, which she did not get out of or leave. He said that he had spoken to her through the driver's side window of her Prism, and that she had been alone inside the car. Griffith told the detective that they'd had a normal conversation, and that she then left because she needed to get to her rehearsal.

Hadn't Griffith earlier told officers that he had last seen Debbie at 6 p.m.?

Despite the apparent discrepancy between his statements, investigators told reporters that Griffith was being cooperative and did not name him as a suspect.

Flores-Narvaez with parents at graduation
Flores-Narvaez with parents at graduation

"Every missing persons case has potential to have foul play involved, but at this point we have found no indication of foul play," LVMPD Lt. Rob Lindquist said. Lindquist said later that investigators "do believe she did not have contact with anyone after [meeting with Griffith]."

Meanwhile, a flier describing Flores-Narvaez and her car was quickly put together and distributed throughout the community by the LVMPD Missing Persons Detail. Flores-Narvaez was described as originally from Puerto Rico, approximately five feet, five inches tall, 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. According to a relative, she liked to wear bright colors, and had a faded "joker" tattoo on one of her ankles. She was a ballroom, Latin and hip-hop dancer who had worked for the Washington Redskin Cheerleader Ambassadors in 2007 and 2008, according to her MySpace page. She also had attended school in Maryland before moving to Las Vegas. Her MySpace biography said that she had earned a bachelor's degree in international business, as well as a law degree.

"I am well-cultured, quick-witted, intelligent, considerate and humorous," her biography stated. "I'm blessed with a substantial amount of common sense."

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