16-year-old still missing after leaving Viera school, prompting concern

Pinecrest Academy students Maria Perez last seen April 7

Maria Perez was last seen April 7 leaving school.
Maria Perez was last seen April 7 leaving school. (WKMG 2021)

VIERA, Fla. – Nearly a week after a 16-year-old girl walked off a Viera campus and seemingly disappeared, parents and school officials continue to ask questions and raise awareness about the case, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.

Those concerns spilled over into the classroom Monday, as about 50 students walked out of Pinecrest Academy Space Coast to demand authorities help locate the teen, identified as Maria Perez.

Maria was last seen April 7 at the academy, 7550 Stadium Pkwy, where she attends eighth grade, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Missing and Endangered Persons Clearinghouse site. Students - mostly sixth and seventh-graders - carried signs and chanted “find Maria.”

“All I can tell you is that she was a student at Pinecrest and she’s been missing since last week. We are working with the authorities,” said Lynn Norman-Teck, the executive director of the Florida Charter School Alliance and spokesperson for the dual-language school.

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“Her friends and school community are concerned about her, they are worried,” Norman-Teck said.

Maria, who may be of Guatemalan descent, according to those sharing her story, was at the K-8th grade school and was supposed to meet her foster mother at a designated site on campus after dismissal for the day, school officials said.

A short time later the school was notified that Maria — who may also struggle with English — never met with her guardian.