Update: University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins confirmed in a statement that Christiana Duarte died in the Las Vegas massacre.
"This attack is a terrible tragedy for hundreds of families, and it is a shocking and horrific event for all of us," Robbins said in a statement. "Staff in our Dean of Students office and Life & Work Connections are reaching out to those who knew her, including her sorority sisters in Sigma Kappa."
Duarte worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks until July. The baseball team's President and CEO Derrick Hall said the entire Diamondbacks family was "shocked and extremely saddened" by their former employee's passing.
"Her wonderful personality and passion for her career will forever be remembered by her D-backs family," Hall said in a statement. "And to her immediate family, along with her friends and co-workers, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this horrific time.”
Original story continues below.
It was just after 10 p.m. last night when a 64-year-old Nevada man opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing at least 59 and injuring more than 500.
It was only natural that anyone awake with a loved one in the Vegas area and cellphone would send out a variation of an “Are you ok” text message.
But some of these messages were met with spine-chilling silence.
Madison Noble sent such a message to her friend, Christiana Duarte, known by friends and family as Chrissy, who graduated from the University of Arizona in May.
She knew 22-year-old Duarte would be at the concert — her friend of 14 years had invited her that week. But Noble couldn’t go. Duarte still attended the concert with her brother’s girlfriend.
“I heard about it at about 10:30 last night, so I texted her, “Hey, are you okay?” Noble told Phoenix New Times.
When she didn’t get a response, she began texting other people she knew were close to Duarte.
No one had heard from her. As the hours rolled by, the silence became more and more deafening for Duarte's friends and family.
“We know calling to let someone know she was okay was the first thing she would have done if she could,” Noble said. “No one’s talked to her since 10 p.m … I’ve been here calling all the hotlines and haven't gotten any information thus far. It’s almost been 12, 13,15 hours now.”
As more time passed and more details came out, loved ones got more and more restless.
They soon learned Duarte’s phone, ID, and credit cards had been found at the scene, but the young woman was nowhere to be found. They learned the alleged shooter was a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. They understood that he had worked alone at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with 17 or more weapons to commit the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
But all of these facts seemed futile without knowing where Duarte was.
“We think she’s in a hospital, probably hurt and can’t talk,” Noble said. “That’s the best-case scenario. It’s unbelievable and just truly heartbreaking that this is something happening in America again.”
Now Noble says Duarte’s family is frantically scouring Las Vegas police stations and hospitals for Duarte. Her brother did not respond to a text from Phoenix New Times.
Noble says Duarte’s brother’s girlfriend, with whom she attended the concert, was allegedly located. She said there had been mixed information about whether the friend had been shot or hurt during the massacre.
Duarte and Noble met when they were 8-year-olds in Torrance, California, playing on the same softball team. They remained friends through high school and college, and Noble describes her friend as “passionate,” “driven,” and family-oriented.
“I just see her as such a bright light in everyone’s life,” Noble said.
Duarte was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority at UA. She went on to work as a fan services associate for the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Team after graduating in May, according to her LinkedIn page.
Duarte also worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks for four months until July 2017, according to her LinkedIn page. Sports ran in the family: Her brother, Mikey Duarte, is a minor league prospect for the Chicago White Sox, according to minor league baseball records.
Mikey Duarte didn't respond to messages on Monday or Tuesday.
“She’s just the sweetest, most-loved, most-genuine human being,” Noble said. “It’s gonna be so tragic and terrible that she had to live through this. It would take such a toll on anyone that was there. … This boils down to just a tragic part of history.”
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