Family renews plea for help 15 years after boys, father vanish without a trace

Photos and aged renderings of Noel (left) and Daniel Santiago (Courtesy: MissingKids.org)


15 years ago today an Oahu man and his two young sons disappeared.

There was an extensive search which turned up empty, and the case was even featured on America’s Most Wanted.

We spoke with a family member who is hoping someone will come forward with new information to help solve this cold case.

July 12, 2002 was the last time anyone saw Victorio Santiago and his two children. Noel was 11 and Daniel was 7.

“I just want to see them and know they are alive. I just want to know they are doing good and healthy and one day that we will be reunited,” Victorio’s brother Gilbert Santiago said.

Victorio was estranged from his wife at the time.

He was staying in the barracks at Pearl Harbor since he was in the Navy at the time while his wife and kids were living in Radford Terrace.

Gilbert says he remembers getting a phone call from their neighbor.

“According to the person who told me what had happened, my brother had some flowers to try to convince the wife to patch things up and resolve this thing so they can get together as a family,” Gilbert recalled. “And they got into an argument, and according to the cops he beat her and fled with the two kids. And that’s it, no more. But the question is, where’s the rental car until now?”

The light green Daewoo Leganza sedan Victorio had been driving was never found despite an extensive search.

The trio also disappeared without a trace.

“The investigation has not only included Oahu, but also the other islands and we’ve looked into the possibility of Mr. Santiago leaving and going outside of the state or country and on those searches we came out negative,” HPD detective Phil Camero said in 2002.

Where could they be?

“The investigators asked me that. If you were Victorio, where would you be hiding? I said honestly I would be hiding in the Philippines,” Gilbert said.

The Victorinos still have family in the Philippines.

But Gilbert says his brother hasn’t contacted any of them.

How hard has it been on your family not knowing what happened to them?

“It’s always hard because we don’t know. There’s no closure on this situation. It can be sad if I know they’re gone completely, but at least I know there’s some closure already. But now that we’re in limbo we don’t know,” Gilbert explained.

Photos and aged renderings of Noel (left) and Daniel Santiago (Courtesy: MissingKids.org)

Above are age enhanced photos of what Noel and Daniel would look like today.

Noel would be 26.

“Noel every time we visit their house, he liked to lay down on my lap and say tickle me, ‘uncle tickle me,'” Gilbert said.

Daniel would be 22.

Gilbert says Daniel is autistic.

“That’s why he’s more special. I just want to hug him and say hey how are you?” Gilbert said.

Gilbert says he wants to see his brother Victorio again even if he ends up in prison.

What would you say to your brother and nephews if they’re watching this?

“I would say that we miss them dearly every day,” Gilbert said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS and Honolulu police are both handling this case.

Call 9-1-1 if you have any new information that can help.

Click here for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website.

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