CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An Uber driver from Charlotte, who has been missing since Saturday night, is believed to be in grave danger by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Investigators held a press conference Monday afternoon saying they are still investigating and "still very concerned" about 44-year-old Marlo Johnis Medina-Chevez. Based on information obtained during the investigation, officials say the case has been moved from the police department's missing persons unit to the homicide unit.
Do investigators believe the driver is dead?
"I hope for the best," said Major Cam Selvey. "I have no way of knowing what his condition is now but I go back to my statement earlier that we are gravely concerned for his well being and safety."
Police didn't give specifics but said they're working with Uber and cell phone providers to gather information.
Medina-Chevez left for work around 9:45 p.m. Saturday and has not returned home, according to police. Investigators and his family say this is very unlike his nature.
Medina-Chevez works as an Uber driver and left home to pick up a client. Medina-Chevez left home driving a 2008 dark blue Nissan Pathfinder with North Carolina tag PDV-4382, according to CMPD.
He was last seen wearing a gray short sleeve shirt, jeans and sandals, police said. Medina-Chevez is described to be 5-foot-five, weighs 108 pounds and has black hair with black eyes.
Medina-Chevez's wife of 22 years, Elsa Medina, says the family is desperate for answers.
"Saturday night we come back from Kingdom Hall, because we are Jehovah's Witnesses and our meeting is 6:30 to 8:30, and we come back and we sit on the sofa and eat together," Elsa Medina said. "And he said, 'let me make Uber for two hours,' and I say, 'don't go. I don't want to stay alone home.' My daughter was doing something with friends and I didn't want to stay home alone."
She said Medina-Chevez said it would only be two hours and she finally agreed. She said her husband left at 9:30 p.m. and she texted him 15 minutes later, but she never got a response.
Elsa Medina said her husband normally drives near their home, but texts when he has to go further away. She said her daughter, Debora Medina, has tried to contact Uber for information.
"They say the information is private, and my daughter says, 'It's my dad is missing. He make Uber last night." And they say, 'I call you back, or do you have a paper from the police report?' We don't have anything."
A spokesperson for Uber told WBTV that the company takes "very seriously" reports of drivers' safety.
She said Uber is working with police, and that there's a legal process investigators have to complete and then give it to Uber.
Customers book trips using the Uber App.
The company said trips are GPS tracked.
Elsa Medina said police have told her they have a lot of people working to find her husband, but don't have much information.
"I'm feeling die, I'm feeling sad, I'm feeling terrible," she said while crying. "I say to people, 'please help me to find my husband, he's a good guy. He helps people. He's very nice.'"
She added that her husband has told her in the past he likes driving for Uber, and feels safe doing it.
Debora Medina, the driver's daughter, said they have gone out looking for her father or even his vehicle.
"Yesterday night we were going everywhere – NoDa, Plaza Midwood, uptown – anywhere you can think of, just the popular area that would be Uber, that pick up people, the area he would say would go red just to say a lot of Ubering happening there, where bars are, the clubs – he would pick them up," the daughter said.
She said it's very unusual for him to not come home, and that the family just wants her father home.
"I think it's unusual because he's not the person to just leave. If he does come late to the house, he calls or text messages, send out something to let us know why he's not home," she said. "He's a person based on family, he loves his family and his friends. I mean he wouldn't just leave, you know?"
She said a group was going out to hang up fliers in hopes someone with information will come forward. She is asking the community to help.
"I'd like the community to come together and try to find my dad," Debora Medina said. "I mean, he's a loving man, he tells a lot of jokes and he gives back to his community. He helps out a lot of people. He likes to bring a lot of people into the house and help them get on their feet. I want my dad home."
A collection of family and friends met at the missing man's home Monday evening to pass out fliers. Debora Medina said the group planned to split up and go to different parts of the city to pass out the posters. The group focused on spots Medina-Chevez liked to frequent. They also went to areas where he would pick people up for Uber rides.
"We know that he might be alive or he might be dead so we're just trying to have hope and faith," said Debora Medina.
If you have any information regarding Medina-Chevez's whereabouts, you're asked to call 9-1-1 immediately or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.