Hall County sheriff describes efforts to find missing Gainesville 12-year-old

The Hall County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to talk about the desperate search for missing 12-year-old Maria Gomez Perez.

The girl was last seen around 10 a.m. May 29 at her home on Westside Drive in Gainesville.

Sheriff Gerald Couch said during the press conference that Maria is considered a child and the fact that she has been gone for a week and a half is a serious issue. They are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to her safe return.

"There are so many possibilities of where she could be and what could’ve happened to her," said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. "I do consider her in danger, very much so."

Couch said more than 70 people have been officially involved in the investigation, including members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Homeland Security and the Consulate of Guatemala.

Maria's family said they have not heard from her since she disappeared.

According to the sheriff, they have interviewed everyone in the home and have visited Maria's home several times, including this past weekend.

They have used drones and K9s in their search and have also searched portions of nearby Lake Lanier.

Additionally, they have distributed 50,000 fliers and have placed digital billboards on 4 heavily-traveled roads in Hall County.

They have also made several posts on social media about Maria's disappearance and distributed the information to national agencies.

Couch said that they believe Maria may have made contact with someone outside the home on the day of her disappearance, but they don't know who that person was. Investigators have downloaded data from several phones associated with Maria and have combed her social media for clues.

When asked why an Amber Alert has not been issued, Couch said there were very specific criteria that must be met for an Amber Alert. For example, there is a reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred, and the child is in imminent danger. Additionally, an identifiable vehicle must be involved.

The sheriff also explained why they had not conducted a grid search. According to the sheriff, grid searches are only conducted when there is a very specific area that is being searched. At this time, they do not have a specific area to search.

Sheriff Couch has asked the public to continue spreading word of Maria's disappearance.

Maria is 5-feet-3-inches tall, weighs about 110 pounds and has dark hair and brown eyes. Call the Hall County Sheriff's Office if you have any information on her whereabouts.