A 16-year-old girl who died in one of the biggest drug trafficking zones in San Francisco was a runaway from the Central Valley who authorities said was reported missing on several occasions in recent months.
Victorria Moran-Hidalgo, of Stanislaus County, was found in the South of Market area early Friday morning and declared dead after a report of a possible overdose on Minna Street between Seventh and Eighth streets, according to San Francisco police and the Medical Examiner's Office.
The police department’s homicide unit is investigating the case as a suspicious death, and no arrests have been made.
Moran-Hidalgo appears to have been reported missing on three occasions since last fall, according to Sgt. Luke Schwartz, a Stanislaus County Sheriff spokesperson.
Moran-Hidalgo was reported missing to the Stanislaus County sheriff last September before being located months later and hundreds of miles south by authorities in Kern County on Dec. 27. She was subsequently reported missing in Kern County on Jan. 19 under the name “Victoria Hidalgo.” A day later, the Concord Police Department received a missing person report for the girl under the name “Victoria Moran.”
“My understanding is the missing person was identified as a run-away from a group-home in Concord,” Schwartz wrote in an email.
Moran-Hidalgo's body was found in an area that city officials acknowledge is seeing a surge in drug dealing since police and community workers increased their presence in the Tenderloin.
A sidewalk memorial on Tuesday morning included a note from someone named JJ who referred to themselves as Moran-Hildago’s “street pops.”
“I love and miss you daughter,” the note read.
Moran-Hidalgo’s mother, Sylvia Hidalgo, did not respond to an inquiry from The Standard but later posted a note on Facebook requesting privacy.
“My youngest daughter Victorria has passed away unexpectedly,” Hidalgo wrote. “At this time I have no answers as I am still dealing with investigators and looking for answers myself.”
Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the area where the girl was found, told The Standard on Tuesday that police and fire officials said there were a “couple people” near the girl’s body when firefighters arrived, but those individuals left before police got to the scene.
Police went to the scene around 6:30 a.m. Friday to assist paramedics with a possible overdose. Haney said the girl's last reported address in Stanislaus County shows that "solutions to this epidemic need to extend beyond our city."
"People are coming here addicted to drugs, they are dying on our streets, it’s absolutely tragic," Haney said. "Our city cannot be a place where people get drugs so easily."
Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a fire department spokesperson, confirmed that paramedics responded to the scene to perform life-saving measures but referred The Standard to police for further information.
In recent months, a shift has occurred in where drug dealing occurs in the city’s downtown area. Increased police patrols combined with a growing presence of workers with the nonprofit Urban Alchemy have descended on Turk and Hyde streets, which has pushed dealers to other parts of the Tenderloin and SoMa, including to the corner of Seventh and Mission streets, near the scene of the girl’s body being discovered.
A report released last month by the medical examiner found that fatal drug overdoses in San Francisco decreased last year after spiking in 2020. The 650 people who died last year—an 8.5% drop from the 711 deaths recorded in 2020—still represented an increase of more than 200 deaths compared to 2019 and was nearly triple the 222 overdose deaths recorded in 2017.
Anyone with information about the girl’s death can call the SFPD Tip Line at 415.575.4444 or text TIP411 and begin the text message with “SFPD.” Tipsters may remain anonymous.