PENITAS, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A day traveling through Mexico is turning into a nightmare for a Valley family. It has been 18 days since three missing women from Peñitas went missing in Mexico.

A family member of two of the women speaks out about their disappearance. 

“Both of them were very happy. They were very extroverted. They were out there,” said Maria Ramirez, the daughter of Maritza Perez Rios, one of the missing women. 

Last month, Maritza Perez Rios and her sister Marina Perez Rios, crossed the Anzadulas International Bridge in Mission to travel to Mexico. 

“With the economy and everything, my aunt had a carwash and stuff like that, landscaping business, and it wasn’t doing too well. So that’s when they decided to start going out there,” Ramirez said. 

They began their hour-and-a-half-long journey to Doctor Coss, Nuevo Leon, nearly 80 miles southwest of Mission. That’s where they stayed with their friend, Dora Alicia Saenz. 

“They had been going every weekend. And it was, I guess, their new normal. They’d been doing it for, for a month, I think, at least a month,” Ramirez said. 

A day after their arrival in Mexico, they were supposed to travel to a market in Montemorelos to sell clothing. Maria Ramirez made several attempts to contact her mom but got no response. 

“She tells me here, I’ve been calling my mom and your mom, and no one’s answering. And I was like, well, that’s weird, you know? Because they always answer or maybe their phone’s turned off,” Ramirez said. 

That’s when the Mexican authorities and the Peñitas Police department were contacted. 

“You know, just because you think it’s gonna be okay. It might not. Because I know my mom and my aunt never would have imagined this to happen to them. And when you’re used to talking to them every so often, it doesn’t happen anymore. I mean, it obviously raises some red flags,” Ramirez adds.  

Now, Maria is praying for their safe return and for help in searching for the missing woman. 

“We have to stay positive for them as much as we do for ourselves. But now it’s just waiting. I wish that if anyone knew anything, you know, get in contact with authorities and let them know,” Ramirez said.  

The FBI and Peñitas Police department would not comment on the investigation.