BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Kimberly Avila was last seen on the streets in downtown Brownsville. After 5 years, her family and members of the LGBTQ+ community still search for answers.

Avila, a transgender woman who was working as a sex worker, was last seen on the night of May 13, 2017, when she was dropped off at the corner of 12th and Washington streets in Brownsville.

“This is where Kimberly used to stand,” said Kimberly’s sister Ivon Avila. “She used to come downtown and this was like her favorite spot. She would hang around here with other people or not. She would just stand here, but this was like she used to say, her corner, her spot.”

Ivon said she had a bad feeling that night and insisted that Kimberly not go.

“I said, ‘Let’s go home, lets go home,'” she said. “I had a feeling like something was not right… Last words that day was ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’ That morning never came.”

On Oct. 12, 1984, Ramiro Avila, also known as Junior, was born in Brownsville. Three years before her disappearance, Avila came out to her parents. Along with that came the new name “Kimberly” and a new look, but her sister said that didn’t change how she looked at her sibling.

“She would tell us at the house, ‘During the week I’m Junior, on the weekends I’m Kimberly,'” Ivon said.

When Ivon and her family were frantically posting flyers downtown to help find Kimberly, they stumbled across the office of the Valley AIDS Council, where they met Oscar Lopez, an LGBTQ+ community organizer.

It was Lopez who helped coordinate the first press conference to bring Avila’s disappearance to light.

“When someone who is LGBTQ goes missing, it’s usually foul play,” Lopez said. We think the worst, especially in border communities in communities where machismo and transphobia are rampant.”

Flyers of Avila posted downtown were torn and vandalized, and a theory that Avila was abducted and taken across the border was also ruled out, leaving many looming questions in a complex missing persons case.

A week after Avila’s disappearance, Brownsville police conducted a prostitution sting operation, a move they admit may have slowed the investigation.

“That kind of scared the fish away for a lack of better term,” said former Chief of Police Orlando Rodriguez in 2017. “Here come the police, and they’re coming to us for help, well we’re not going to cooperate with police because they just arrested us.”

Episode 1 of 956 Vanished delved into the community’s response to Avila’s disappearance and their relationship with local law enforcement.

“I would like to invite them to invite us to go up as partners and the community and to interview the girls together and say look we represent this group, you know, we’re trying to help the police if there’s any information left on the streets [because] they ain’t going to talk to the cops,” Lopez said.