Reward for missing 12-year-old Gainesville girl upped to $30,000

Authorities are searching for 12-year-old Maria Gomez-Perez, who was last seen at her home in Gainesville on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Hall County Sheriff's Office)

Federal and international authorities are joining the search for 12-year-old Maria Gomez-Perez, who was last seen around 10 a.m. May 29 at her home in Gainesville.

She is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall, between 100 and 110 lbs, with long black hair and brown eyes.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said Gomez-Perez is likely in danger and may have left her home with an unknown person who she had previously communicated with.

“She’s a child and to be gone that long — that’s a serious issue,” Couch said. “There are so many possibilities of where she could be and what could have happened to her. So, we’re exploring every single avenue that we possibly can.”

According to the sheriff, authorities with the FBI, Homeland Security and Guatemalan consulate have stepped in to help interview the girl’s community and canvass the area.

Couch also responded to criticism Tuesday about the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s decision not to issue a Levi’s Call, which is the state’s version of an Amber Alert, immediately after Gomez-Perez was reported missing about two weeks ago due to insufficient information about her possible abductor.

Couch said while a Levi’s Call was not possible, the sheriff’s office has distributed 50,000 fliers and placed digital billboards with Gomez-Perez’s information on four heavily-traveled roads around the county.

“We’ve got it on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” Couch said. “I mean, we’ve covered all the bases. So, the word’s out there.”

Criminology experts have long said the first 72 hours in a missing persons investigation are the most critical, with the number of leads dropping each day that goes by.

Couch said the Hall County Sheriff’s Office has followed-up on 70 tips so far.

To help with the search for Gomez-Perez, an anonymous businessperson recently donated another $10,000 for information leading to her safe return. The new donation brings the total reward to $30,000.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Unit can be reached at 770-503-3232 or

Tips may also be phone in to 911 or Hall County dispatch at 770-536-8812.