MANHATTAN, Kan. - Riley County Police says it was 18 year old Alheli Alcantara who's body was found behind the southwest corner of Quality Inn, 150 E. Poyntz Ave. She was identified her in the early morning hours of October 13.
Authorities are now focused on finding Alcantara's vehicle. It looks similar to the attached picture of a light colored 1991 Toyota Previa minivan, with a Kansas tag of 980 BCK. Alcantara's Previa has a few distinguishing marks, including: a burned out headlight on the driver's side; no rear wiper blade; a black funny face sticker on the back driver's side window; a KSU rear window sticker; and tinted rear windows.
Officials say they have accounted for Alcantara's whereabouts up until 1a.m. Sunday. She was last seen in Topeka. They are asking anyone who saw her or knows where she was between 1a.m. and the time her body was found in Manhattan at 7:20a.m. to contact law enforcement.
Alcantara's mother, older sister and younger brother live in Manhattan. Alcantara was living in Topeka, where her uncle and grandma reside. Her uncle says she was planning to attend nursing school at KU in the spring and was excited about her future plans. She just graduated from Manhattan high school this year.
Alcantara's uncle, Antonio Alcantara, said he thinks the murderer was someone Alheli knew. "The main question is, why Manhattan?" said Alcantara. "You have dozens of towns around. Why did they go to Manhattan? Has to be somebody from over there."
He last saw Alheli Friday. He said she spent Saturday with her grandma and they went to Wal-Mart. Alcantara said Alheli told family members she was going to work Saturday evening at Burger King and would be home later, but she never returned.
Anyone with possible information associated with the case should call the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office at 785-457-3353, the Riley County Police Department at 785-537-2112, or Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777.