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October 23, 2014

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Brother travels from New York to lead search for his 45-year-old sister, missing since Jan. 19

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Irma Mkrtchyan

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Irma Mkrtchyan

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Davit Mkrtchyan sits at the desk of his sister, Farmers Insurance agent Irma Mkrtchyan, looking for answers about her disappearance. Irma Mkrtchyan, 45, has not been seen since Jan. 19, 2014.

A call for help

  • Police urge anyone with information regarding Irma Mkrtchyan’s disappearance or her whereabouts to contact Metro’s Missing Persons Detail at 828-2907 or 828-3111.

Davit Mkrtchyan knew something was wrong when his sister’s phone remained off for a third day in a row.

Mkrtchyan lives in New York City, but he speaks regularly with his sister, Irma Mkrtchyan, a Las Vegas resident. Davit called his sister Jan. 19 to remind her about their uncle’s birthday; the next two days Davit tried calling again, leaving voicemails. It was on the third day he heard a story from Irma’s son that made him nervous.

Irma, who worked as a Farmers Insurance agent, had gone to a client’s residence Jan. 19 at Allanza Apartments and never made it home. The next day, a text message arrived from Irma’s phone: She had no charger, the phone was about to die and she would be gone on a business trip to California until Friday. A nearly identical text message also was sent to her boss at Farmers Insurance, except this one said she left for a family emergency.

The messages didn’t add up for Davit.

“When I heard this message, (I knew) something was wrong here,” Davit said. “Irma couldn’t leave her phone switched off because all her business is attached to the phone. I called the son, and I said, ‘Go right now and report to the police.’”

Nearly three weeks later, Davit sat unshaven in front of his sister’s unoccupied office desk inspecting old pieces of mail while he waited to speak with Irma’s boss. Davit’s eyes scanned the notes his sister had scribbled around the edges of one letter, hoping to find some clue, any clue, about her disappearance. No luck.

He set the letter down and fiddled with a magnetic pen holder. Two other family members sat at another desk slumped in the chairs, exhausted. It’s been nine days since they arrived in Las Vegas searching for answers.

They’ve canvassed the Las Vegas Valley 12 hours each day, posting and passing out fliers informing people to be on the lookout for a 45-year-old, 5-foot-5, 120-pound white female with blond hair and brown eyes. They’ve reached out to a Las Vegas Armenian church to help with the search, and they’ve checked in with Metro Police each day for updates.

There are few clues. Irma’s ex-husband, with whom she continued to live, said he found Irma’s car parked at Allanza Apartments on the day of her disappearance. There was nothing suspicious about the car.

Police have told Davit that Irma was an adult and could leave if she wanted. Davit remains suspicious. His sister did speak a lot about being stressed from work and troubles at home, but he doesn’t believe she’d run away from home voluntarily.

“This situation is not Irma,” Davit said. “She couldn’t leave her kids; she couldn’t leave our mother. Our mother lives in New York with me, and she is in very bad condition. She had a heart attack, and she knows ... she could lose her mother.”

Still, police told Davit they were checking domestic violence shelters to see whether Irma sought refuge in any of them. Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield said the investigation was ongoing and police had not determined whether it was criminal case. He would not comment further.

This week, however, Metro shared a missing persons report on Irma with Las Vegas media outlets.

So Tuesday, Davit was at Irma’s office for the fourth time since he arrived, to speak with the office’s boss and search for answers. He leaves with a promise that Farmers Insurance will see what it can do to help find his sister.

After the meeting, he plopped down in his vehicle and lit a cigarette. Missing persons fliers are taped to the bumpers and rear windows. Time is running out. He knows he can’t search for his sister forever, but for now, he must keep trying.

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