A family is asking for the public’s help as they search for a 59-year-old transgender woman who vanished during a layover at DFW International Airport.
Pauline del Mundo was last seen on Sept. 14 as she started a trip from her hometown in Tampa, Fla. to Cozumel, Mexico for a 10-day vacation.
Family members told WTSP, our sister station in Tampa, that in the midst of her travels, she called her sister to tell her she changed her mind and needed a plane ticket back home.
Lilia Acebon, Mundo’s sister, sister said she sounded “incoherent” and “depressed” during the call.
Family members said since a layover at DFW Airport, Mundo hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“We were alarmed,” Acebron told WTSP. “We tried to reach her on her cellphone but her cellphone was dead.”
Acebron believes del Mundo was dealing with pain from a recent rotator cuff injury, which was interfering with her job as a certified nursing assistant.
“She’s a hard-working woman, she always worked overtime,” Acebron said. “But she was still having some pain, some limitation of movement, so she considered herself disabled and I think that’s why she started getting depressed.”
Acebron said it was an unusual disposition for their otherwise “bubbly” sister, one of 12 children in their close-knit family.
As the search of Mundo continues, two of her sisters traveled to North Texas to meet with a DFW Airport detective investigating the case, WTSP reported.
Mundo is Filipino and described as 5 feet 6 inches tall with long brown hair, brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to call one of these numbers:
- Lolita del Mundo Gaviola at 813-357-4741
- Yolanda del Mundo at 646-829-8830
- The Philippine Consulate in Houston at 346-256-4522
- The Philipine Embassy Washington at 202-368-2767
- Dallas Police Department Missing Persons Division at 214-671-4268
Family members said recent violence against transgender women in the North Texas area has added to their concerns.
Friday, a 35-year-old transgender woman was shot late in the evening in the 11000 block of Dennis Road in Dallas.
The victim survived and told police she was walking along Dennis Road when a man pulled alongside her and “yelled a number of slurs regarding her gender identity.”
The man then fired several shots, which struck the victim in the chest and arm.
The case is being treated as a hate crime.
Before the victim was identified as a 35-year-old woman, Acebon said her family was worried it could’ve been Mundo.
“We were afraid it was our sister,” Acebron said. “There’s a lot of things going on in my mind, which I don’t want to think about.”
In May, Muhlaysia Booker, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was found shot dead in a Dallas street. A 33-year-old man, Kendrell Lyles, was later arrested and charged in her homicide, as well as two other shooting deaths.
But her violent death wasn’t the first time Booker was targeted. A month before she was killed, a viral video showed a large group watching as a man beat Booker following a crash.
Edward Thomas, 29, was arrested on an aggravated assault charge and later released on bond. According to arrest records, someone paid Thomas $200 to attack Booker.