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Man calls himself main suspect in case of missing teen, says he didn't do it

11:35 PM, Apr 13, 2011   |    comments
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"Being the last person so far to have seen her, my life has been turned inside out," Travis Forbes told Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman. "I have a criminal record, so it's been very difficult. The detectives in this case are going through my life with a fine-toothed comb."

Denver Police told 9Wants to Know Wednesday night they do not have a person of interest or a suspect in the case and still consider it a missing person case.

"All of our focus is bringing Kenia home to her family," Lt. Matt Murray of the Denver Police Department said.

Murray says police do not know why Forbes considers himself the main suspect.

Forbes says he's very concerned about Monge but only knew her for 20 minutes in the early morning of April 1 when she disappeared.

Forbes say he was driving home from the bar Opal in his van with his friend Eddie after celebrating a friend's graduation from cosmetology school. He would not tell us Eddie's last name. He says they saw Monge around 15th and California Streets and pulled over to help her because she was drunk, stumbling around and crying.

"She was very inebriated and emotional and I was just trying to figure out where she had come from, who her friends were," Forbes said. "When we found her at 2:30 in the morning, she was drunk."

Forbes says his friend Eddie got out of his van and walked home while he drove Monge to the Lavish Bar, where she told him she left her car and her friends. They drove around, but didn't find either.

He says he let her borrow his cell phone so she could call her own phone to see if her friends would answer it. No one did.

Forbes says he agreed to take her home but she wanted to stop for cigarettes so he pulled over at a Conoco gas station along Speer Boulevard but it was closed. That Conoco is the last place police say Monge was seen.

Forbes says she wanted a cigarette so badly, she jumped out of his van to bum one off of a man who was at the gas station smoking a cigarette.

"They sat down, smoked cigarettes and all of a sudden, I was no longer important. I was just one stranger and then she was off with another stranger," Forbes said. "I didn't think anything of it. I didn't get any bad vibes from this person. He was clean cut. He wasn't homeless."

Forbes says he got a good look at the man and could pick him out of a lineup if necessary. He described him as possibly Asian, 5 feet 4 inches tall, thin, small build, round, boyish face and nice looking. He says the man was wearing jeans, basketball shoes, a silver jacket and spoke fluent Spanish with Monge.

"She walked off with him. There was no reason for me to have thought anything about it. And it was 3 in the morning. So I went home," Forbes said.

The next morning, Forbes says he texted Monge to see if she ever found her car. He says he never heard back from her.

Ever since, he says he's been the main focus of the police investigation. Because of that, he says he and a bunch of his friends meditated last weekend to send her positive thoughts.

"We all sent out cords of light to this girl, asking her to be found and come home and clear the energy off of me from all of this," Forbes said.

Forbes makes and sells gluten-free granola bars for his company "Forbies", which he founded in 2009.

He was released from parole a year ago after being convicted of burglary in Larimer County and serving about three years in prison, according to Colorado Department of Corrections records. Forbes told Sherman he was addicted to drugs when he was a teenager and used to break into dentist offices to steal the drug Demerol.

Three months ago, Forbes was caught allegedly shoplifting in Lakewood and was charged in January with a misdemeanor along with driving with expired license plates and without insurance, according to a criminal history report by the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Records show he has been arrested three times for burglary, twice for shoplifting and several other times for assault, parole violations, trespassing and disturbing the peace since June 1997.

Forbes has had problems with his finances in the last two years because of his business, according to his website.

He was evicted from his last residence in Denver in January because he didn't pay rent and owes his landlord $3,000 in damages he left behind, according to his landlord Dena Kitsos.

The caretaker of the property says Forbes had a pot growing operation in the basement of the rental property and had rigged the electrical meters to steal electricity for his lights.

"He had a roomful of pot plants. It was a serious grow room," said Matt Smith of Foothills Painting, who had to clean out the property after Forbes was evicted.

Smith estimates there were at least 15 large marijuana plants in the apartment.

Forbes has not been arrested because of the alleged plants.

Denver Police have been searching multiple areas looking for evidence in the Monge case.

Monge, who is from Aurora, was at a nightclub with her friends the night she went missing. Friday, Denver Police released cell phone pictures that were taken of her within hours of her disappearance.

Denver Police said Friday they do not believe the teen ran away and have made it their top priority to find her.

Police would not say if they are looking for the man whom Forbes described as "walking away" with Monge. Police will only say they are looking for anyone with any information about her.

Even though Forbes is the last person to possibly have seen her, he says he's not to blame for her disappearance.

"Everybody has their own choices. And she chose to walk off with this guy and I can't blame myself for that," Forbes said.

If you have any information about this story or any other news tips, please email Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman at Deborah.Sherman@9NEWS.com.

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