It has been four months since Gwyn and Rowena Gabe last spoke to their daughter, Alexis.
“She’s a really responsible person,” Rowena said about her daughter. “She’s very, very sweet.”
The 24-year-old disappeared in Antioch, California, on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Her parents told Dateline they texted her that evening.
“We texted her around 6:00, and then she replied,” Rowena told Dateline. “My husband texted her around 7:30 and she didn’t reply.” That was the last communication they had with their daughter.
Gwyn and Rowena Gabe are from the Philippines. “We were childhood friends,” Gwyn said, but Gwyn’s family moved to the United States in 1986, when he was 16. Years later, while on vacation back in the Philippines, he and Rowena reconnected and in 1994, they married. They settled in California’s Bay Area, first in Antioch and later in Oakley.
Alexis, their only daughter, is the middle of their three children. “She’s always so happy,” Rowena said. And creative. “She loves photography, she likes to draw, she likes fashion,” Rowena said. “She likes vintage, all that stuff.”
But when it came to her studies, Alexis’s parents said she chose to study medicine. “She graduated an EKG technician from Contra Costa Medical College,” Rowena said.
The Gabes said Alexis originally wanted to study forensic science, but the school that was offering that degree was too far from the family home in Oakley where Alexis still lives.
Gwyn said that the text he sent at 7:30 p.m. on January 26 which Alexis never replied to, was asking if she would be coming home to eat dinner. “She never responded,” he said. “Which is normal.”
Gwyn told Dateline it wasn’t unusual for his daughter not to reply. “I would always wait up for her to come home because she would sometimes come home really late,” Gwyn said. But that night, he didn’t wait up.
Gwyn said that in January, he and his wife were battling COVID-19 and they “passed out” earlier than normal. So it wasn’t until the next morning that they discovered their daughter did not come home.
“My wife got up at 8:00 a.m.,” Gwyn recalled. “She saw our youngest son, the 15-year-old, was still home,” Gwyn said it was Alexis’s responsibility to make sure her brother made it to school each day and also pick him up afterward.
Gwyn told Dateline that his son texted Alexis that morning when it was time to go to school, but he didn’t get a reply either.
“When I heard that she didn’t reply to her brother’s text, I knew there was something wrong,” Gwyn said. “She would never do that.”
Gwyn told Dateline they immediately called Alexis’s boyfriend to see if he knew anything about their daughter’s whereabouts. “I called him right away and then I asked him if he knew where Alexis was,” Rowena said.
Alexis and her boyfriend had been dating on and off for three years, according to her parents. Gwyn said they later found out from friends that the couple had recently broken up.
Rowena told Dateline that the boyfriend told them Alexis had come to see him on the evening of the 26th. “He said Alexis was there and she left his house around 9 p.m.,” Rowena said. “And was heading to her best friend’s house.”
Rowena said they then called Alexis’s best friend, who seemed confused. “She said, ‘That’s impossible, because Alexis knows that I’m in Sacramento,’” Rowena told Dateline.
The Gabes said after that conversation since they were quarantined at home and unable to leave the house, they asked their eldest son to file a missing persons’ report. They also started organizing a search party. “We called everyone — all our relatives and friends — to start driving, you know, to drive around and see what they can find,” Rowena said.
The Gabes said the search party found something on Thursday, January 27: Alexis’ blue Infiniti Coupe with the key in the ignition and the door unlocked. It was located just five minutes away from their house and one street away from Alexis’s best friend’s house. Despite the quarantine, the Gabes said they “ran over there.”
“I told my son to open the trunk,” Gwyn said. It was empty, and Alexis was nowhere to be found.
Dateline spoke with Detective Tyler Horne of the Oakley Police Department, one of the detectives assigned to Alexis’s case. He said that Alexis was last captured on security footage “at a gas station on Lonetree Way in Antioch, California” in the early evening of January 26.
Detective Horne told Dateline that Alexis’s car was found at the “intersection of Trenton Street and Carrington Drive” in Oakley. In April, police released security footage of a man they believe dropped Alexis’s car off there the night she disappeared. The video shows the person in question walking where Alexis’s car was found. The man is described by investigators as a dark-skinned male, 5’11” to 6 foot, and with a skinny build. He had on a large overcoat and an N95 mask from which his beard was protruding. Detective Horn told Dateline the man dropped the car off in Oakley at around 9:30 p.m. and was walking back towards Antioch.
On May 13, the City of Oakley posted on their Facebook page that investigators located a “key piece of evidence in the search for Alexis Gabe — her cell phone case.” They added that investigators believe “the male captured on video walking away from Alexis’ vehicle on Trenton Street in Oakley discarded Alexis’ cell phone case on January 26th.” Detective Horne said the phone case was discovered over a month ago but was being processed by the lab, which is why the information was only just released to the public. The actual phone itself has not been located.
Detective Horn also told Dateline that search warrants were taken out on a location in Antioch, but would not elaborate further. The City of Oakley posted on May 12, that the Oakley Police “served a search warrant at a home on Benttree Way in Antioch.” The post continued to say that “the home in question is where she was reportedly last seen, and investigators are looking into whether this location is where she met with foul play.”
Detective Horn told Dateline that they are investigating persons of interest, but would not name them. He added that the case is ongoing and they do suspect foul play.
“They have been working hard, non-stop,” Gwyn said about the Oakley Police Department. “This is something that doesn’t happen in Oakley,” he said referring to disappearances like his daughter’s.
Gwyn told Dateline they have been working hard as well to find their daughter. They even enlisted the help of the KlassKids Foundation to assist with the search. “They sent their team from Florida to fly in and then they helped us for about a month,” Gwyn said. “That phone case came from it.”
The Gabes also run the ‘Help Bring Alexis Home’ Facebook page, urging people to come forward with information. “We’re also getting help from the FBI and also the Contra Costa Search and Rescue,” Gwyn told Dateline.
Alexis is described as around 5’7” tall, and 170 pounds. She was last known to be wearing a white tank top, a silver/black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, and green and white shoes. “Her hair is all the way down to her back,” Rowena said. “She’s beautiful, inside and out.”
The City of Oakley posted that at the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the city’s reward contribution increased from $10,000 to $50,000 for direct information leading to Alexis Gabe’s whereabouts. They wrote that this is in addition to the $50,000 reward an anonymous donor offered last week bringing the total reward to $100,000. The post included a statement from Oakley Police Chief Paul Beard, who said, “We hope these additional reward funds will lead us to Ms. Gabe’s whereabouts. The Alexis Gabe case continues to consume the Oakley Police Department. Our team is working day and night to bring a resolution to her family.”