Criminal investigation still a possibility in missing NC mom of 3 case

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CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said there is a still a possibility they might have to open a criminal investigation into the case of a mother of three missing for more than a week.

Maria Ventura-Cruz was reported missing by a family member Jan. 16. She was last seen about 7 p.m. on Jan. 15., deputies said.

Family members said she was last seen as she visited a family member in the hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office said a few spot searches were performed based on a tip that came in since the big search last week, but nothing that scale.

Francisco Yerbafria, Ventura-Cruz’s boyfriend, was charged Jan. 17 with child abuse after the sheriff’s office said he left children home alone.

Yerbafria is also a person of interest in Cruz’s disappearance, the sheriff’s office said.RELATED:Deputies won’t rule out ‘criminal misconduct’ in case of missing NC mother of 3

The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office is still asking the public to provide tips at (910) 592-4141..

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