Kenia Monge’s Parents & Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Kenia Monge Parents and family


Kenia Monge went missing in downtown Denver on April 1, 2011. Her case will be featured on tonight’s episode of Dateline NBC.

On that night in 2011, Monge went out with friends to a Denver nightclub, and she never returned. She’d left her belongings with her friends, and the next day, her phone received a strange text message from a man named Travis about driving her home in a “white creepy van.”

Travis Forbes told detectives that he met Monge when she was intoxicated and upset, and he offered to give her a ride home. He said that on the way, they stopped at a Conoco gas station and Monge wandered off. Forbes claimed at the time that he never saw her again.

Forbes later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to the murder.

Here’s what you should know about Kenia Monge’s parents and family:

1. Her Stepfather Discovered the Text Message That Led to Her Murderer

Anthony Lee, Monge’s stepfather, received a text message on Monge’s cell phone the day after her disappearance from somebody named Travis asking if she got home okay. He knew that the text message was strange immediately.

“Hey this is Travis, the guy who gave you a ride last night,” the text message read. “White creepy van.:) did you get home okay?”

Lee called the number back and arranged to meet the man, who was later identified as Travis Forbes, at a gas station where he said he’d last seen Monge alive.

2. The Family Always Considered Forbes a Suspect

Who Was Kenia Monge? | Criminal Confessions Highlights | OxygenWho Was Kenia Monge? Tony Lee, the stepfather of slain Denver 19-year-old Kenia Monge, recalls what Monge was like growing up. Monge had dreams of working in entertainment as a director or producer, and she was known for her leadership qualities. Her life was cut short on April 1, 2011, when she was murdered by…2019-12-30T14:00:06Z

According to CBS Denver, the family has always felt that Forbes was the suspect in Monge’s disappearance, and they were not surprised when he confessed.

Just a few days after the disappearance, Lee met up with Forbes at the gas station where he said he’d last seen Monge alive.

“When I shook his hand, how he felt … shaking … I knew then I was shaking the hand of the last person who saw Kenia alive,” Lee said.

3. Family Members Held a Memorial Once They Got the Truth About Monge’s Death

Once authorities found Monge’s body, family members were able to get closure and later start planning a memorial service.

“Today, finally – I got the truth,” Maria Lee, Monge’s mother, told CBS after Forbes confessed.

A memorial had been set up outside the window of Monge’s home.

“We’ve got to take this girl home, put her to rest,” Lee said.

4. Her Parents Want to Make People Aware of the Dangers in the World

After getting closure on their daughter’s death, the family has made it their mission to make sure others are aware of the dangers in the world.

“That one message is this, we want to make young women aware those dangers are still out there,” Lee said. “If women aren’t being careful there’s going to be another Kenia.”

They made plans to work with families who have missing children, helping them process the pain and deal with the grief that comes with the circumstances.

5. They Started the Kenia Monge Foundation

In order to move their mission forward, Monge’s family started the Kenia Monge Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit in her name.

The foundation, according to the website, exists to “provide women and children in Colorado with resources, education, and funding to engage in safe, healthy, and productive behaviors and activities in the community.”

The website’s blog was last updated in 2012. It’s not clear if the foundation is still active.

Tune in to Dateline NBC to learn more about Monge’s story.

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