About two hundred members of the Oakley community gathered Sunday afternoon to raise awareness about the case of Alexis Gabe, 24, who has been missing since late January and whose disappearance has rocked and frustrated the sleepy county town of Contra Costa.
“It’s tough,” said Megan Granado, a friend of Gabe’s since her freshman year of high school who joined others at Sunday’s meeting. “When you have to wake up every day and not talk to that person, it feels real.”
Sitting next to her friends, and as a tear rolled down her face, Granado said, “It really sucks when you sit down and think, you can’t just call him and talk to him now.”
Gabe, an Oakley resident, was last seen in Antioch on the evening of January 26. The next day, family members found his silver sedan in Oakley unlocked and with the keys still inside, police said. On February 2, police issued a search warrant at the home of an ex-boyfriend of Gabe. Since then, police have not provided any updates, but call the disappearance “suspicious”.
Billboards have been put up in Stockton and along Highway 4 in Contra Costa County, urging members of the public to report any information – and community members are handing out flyers and researching the region.
On Sunday, community members from Oakley and surrounding towns met at the intersection where Gabe’s car was found and handed out t-shirts with a black-and-white photo of his face and the words ” Stay Strong” on the back.
Community members then marched a mile from the intersection to City Hall and the police station, with cars honking in support and flyers of Gabe’s face taped to nearly every street corner and billboard. signage. The event was organized by Morgan Strenfel, the girlfriend of Gabe’s brother, Gwyn, who provided updates via a Facebook page called “Help Bring Alexis Gabe Home”. The family members have also set up a GoFundMe page and have so far raised over $12,000.
Strenfel described Gabe as someone with a great sense of humor.
“She always made people laugh,” she said. “Very spiritual. Funny. Quickly joking. She is super creative. She likes to draw. Very artistic. She loves fashion. She loves saving. We really miss his presence. She is a light in any situation. His absence is harsh.
Strenfel believes police are taking the case seriously, adding that the number of officers on the case has increased from two to 25.
Oakley Police spokesman Brian Foreman said he could not provide the exact number of staff working on the case, but said: ‘We are using all of our resources and have patrol officers to assist our investigative unit.”
But others at Sunday’s event said the case could be more than the police department can chew. With a population of just over 40,000, Oakley is located in the eastern part of Contra Costa County.
“I don’t think they’re used to this sort of thing,” said Terry Riggs, a resident of neighboring Brentwood. She added that the incident is unusual for the quieter, suburban and rural community.
Others at Sunday’s meeting agreed.
“These things don’t happen in Oakley,” said Theresa Onadele, who lived in Oakley for years but now resides in Brentwood. “When it comes home, it pisses you off. And it gives you the impression that there is a feeling of insecurity. And it shakes your very heart.
Gabe’s brother, mother and father all attended Sunday’s event. Gabe’s father, Wyn, declined an interview. “We try to keep a low profile,” he said.
Gabe was last seen wearing a white tank top, silver and black hoodie, black pants and green and white shoes, according to a Facebook post from the city. Police describe her as an Asian woman who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 170 pounds.
Oakley Police encourage members of the public who may have seen Gabe or have more information to call 925-625-8060.