Esmerelda Tavares is a woman in her mid-thirties living in a condominium on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills. In 2002 she was living in San Fernando and married to Carlos Tavares, an abusive and possessive, controlling man. They had a child of approximately one year of age. At the same time she had a secret lover named Albert. Fearing for her safety, she abruptly left her husband and child. She went into hiding with Albert, leaving no clues as to her fate. The manner of her disappearance caused the San Fernando Police Department to consider her a murder victim, despite the fact that no body was ever found. Anthony Valdez, at that time a young police officer, was involved in the investigation. Valdez considered Carlos to be the prime suspect, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him. When Esme did not return, Carlos put the child up for adoption.

Esmerelda began using the name Angela Martinez. She and Albert spent ten years in Salt Lake City before returning to L.A. In 2017 she no longer feared her husband, and she wished to officially divorce Carlos in order to marry Albert. She learned that the SFPD was still investigating her case. She contacted Harry Bosch to let him know that she was not dead. She expressed no interest in reuniting with her child, nor did she express any remorse for the huge cost of investigating her disappearance.

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