Rohnert Park teen last seen a decade ago, adoptive parents charged with abuse
Rohnert Park police are searching for an 18-year-old girl not seen for nearly a decade, her disappearance only discovered recently when her adoptive parents came under investigation for allegedly abusing her two younger siblings.
Kaya Centeno’s younger sister and brother, ages 17 and 15, told police she was between 8 and 12 years old when they last saw her, police said. The younger children remained living with the couple, Jose and Gina Centeno of Rohnert Park, and endured years of abuse, according to police.
The Centanos were arrested Aug. 19 and booked into the Sonoma County Jail on $18 million bail. They have been charged with felony torture and other crimes, according to the 14-count complaint filed Aug. 20 in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Jose Centeno, 53, was also charged with an additional nine felony crimes for his suspected sexual abuse of the 17-year-old girl, who is referred to as Jane Doe #1 in the complaint. They face life sentences if convicted.
At the center of the case is the mystery of Kaya Centeno, who attended John Reed Elementary School until second grade, when she was taken out of school to be homeschooled, police said.
Rohnert Park police Sgt. Keith Astley said he hopes members of the public will come forward with information about her and help pinpoint a more precise time window for when she was last seen.
“We want to find Kaya,” Astley said. “We want to hear from anybody who knows Kaya. Have they seen Kaya? When was the last time they saw Kaya? Kaya was in the household and then she was not.”
Police worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which developed a photo of what she may look like today.
The troubling allegations involving the Centenos and the abuse of their children surfaced in July when Mexican authorities contacted Sonoma County child protective services about the two teens. They had been sent out of the country about 1.5 years ago by the Centenos to live with extended family, police said.
Neighbors of the relatives had called Mexican police with concerns about the two American children, who then told authorities about the abuse, according to Astley.
The Centenos had stayed behind in Sonoma County and were estranged, the sergeant said. They adopted five children in all, a set of three siblings and years later twins. Gina Centeno remained in the family’s Rohnert Park home with the twins, the sergeant said.
Gina and Jose Centeno are charged with felony kidnapping of the three older teens stemming from an allegation they concealed them to access adoption assistance funding, according to the complaint.
Kaya Centeno’s siblings were given an explanation for their sister’s absence, which Astley said he would not yet disclose because the investigation was still in an early stage.
Detectives found evidence at the Centenos’ C Section home "to corroborate the victims’ statements about the abuse,“ police said in a statement.
Astley said he’s not aware of any reports of abuse or other issues with the Rohnert Park family before police were contacted by Mexican authorities. Detectives are investigating whether the two twins have been the victims of abuse as well, Astley said.
Jose and Gina Centeno return to court Oct. 5 for a plea hearing, and they remain in jail without bail.
“We don’t know where Kaya is, and we want to find her,” Astley said.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department at 707-584-2612.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.