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Iowa parents worry for daughter they say went missing in California

21-year-old Irina Pogorelko flew to San Jose on Sept. 4, but she hasn't contacted her parents since Sept. 23.

AMES, Iowa — Even after talking with Gennady Pogorelko and Oksana Fursova for just a few minutes, their care for their daughter Irina is obvious.

"She was always quiet and smart ... Just a regular, nice kid that's growing and doing well," Pogorelko said.

But the two parents haven't seen or heard from Irina in weeks. 

She left a note in her room for them on Sept. 4, telling them she was flying to see friends in San Jose, California — friends her parents hadn't heard of before. Her parents told Local 5 the credit card used to pay for the ticket wasn't one they recognized.

"From the beginning of October, there is nothing. So you can leave messages. I mean, the phone looks to be active, but there is nothing from there," Pogorelko said.

Irina was previously a student at Iowa State University. However, adding to her parents' confusion, she hadn't actually enrolled for the current fall semester.

Her parents have reached out to the San Jose Police Department about her disappearance. They've opened a case in the matter, but are frustrated by a lack of contact from investigators. 

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"Nobody ever calls back. So we call the department, the general phone. And we talked to them and they say, 'Okay, if you need details, just call the detective.' Call the detective, there is voicemail. Nobody calls back," Pogorelko said.

It's been over a month since the couple has heard from Irina. They're still holding out hope for her safe return, and they have a message for their missing daughter.

"My sweetheart, I so love you. I so miss you. I want to let you know, all of us, we're just so worried about you," Fursova said.

The Ames Police Department tells Local 5 that San Jose PD is in charge of the case. 

If you have any information about Irina, you're asked to reach out to the San Jose Police Department at 408-537-1338. 

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FROM APRIL 2021: How does Iowa keep track of missing persons? 

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