Search continues for missing New Bedford teenager Jalajhia Finklea

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Eighteen-year-old Jalajhia Finklea has now been missing for three weeks.

Investigators are now trying to find ways to narrow their search for her.

As Boston 25 News has been reporting since her disappearance, Jalajhia Finklea was last seen on Oct. 20th when police say she got into a rented car operated by the man suspected of abducting her, 37-year-old Luis Barboza.

Last week, Barboza was killed in Florida during a confrontation with U.S. Marshals.

Jalajhia is still missing.

I was the first to obtain Barboza’s arrest warrant, and it revealed startling information.

We learned that Jalajhia’s cell phone was discarded along Route 140 North in New Bedford, 30 minutes after she got into Barboza’s car.

I showed the arrest warrant to former Boston Police Chief and current Boston 25 Security Analyst Dan Linskey.

“I’m concerned [for Jalajhia because] from the moment she got in the car, something could have happened,” Linskey said. “It seems like this individual was intent on harm.”

The arrest report also reveals that after Jalajhia’s cell phone was thrown away, Barboza’s cell phone and license plate was tracked leaving New England, going first to New Jersey, north to New York City, south against to New Jersey, through Washington, D.C. to Jacksonville, Florida.

On Oct. 23rd, in Jacksonville, Barboza was recorded visiting a McDonalds restaurant where he ordered “a small meal with one drink.” There is a surveillance image of Barboza, now bald, alone. There is no sign of Jalajhia.

The next day Barboza’s car is picked up in Houston, Texas. And three days later he is finally in the Crestview, Florida area where U.S. Marshals later caught up with him in that deadly confrontation.

Frequently during the roadtrip, Barboza shut off his cell phone, sometimes for days.

Linskey believes those areas where Barboza’s trail goes cold are likely areas investigators are searching.

“I would think, we start (the search) in Massachusetts, and see what’s around here,” Linskey said. “And we look for any significant periods of time where we can piece together where he was for a period of time, in areas where there are out buildings, fields, or places where she could be held against her will.”

Investigators are still working on a Barboza timeline. Specifically, they are trying to see if Barboza accessed money during the times his cell phone was turned off.

Linskey also believes the rental car Barboza was driving at the time he was killed could provide critical clues.

“They want to look for physical evidence to see if there is any other violence, besides the engagement with law enforcement,” Linskey said.

Authorities believe Jalajhia’s health is at risk.

If you have any information about this case, you are urged to contact New Bedford Police.