Filiberto Anguiano said he and his wife, Bertha, moved to Carson City three years ago from Southern California because of the city's low crime rate.
"We thought it was a great place to raise our kids," the 33-year-old father scoffed Wednesday.
Now, Anguiano has spent three days wondering what happened to his wife, who disappeared Monday morning after dropping off the couple's 6-year-old son, Christian, at Empire Elementary School.
"I just want her back, in one piece, alive, so we can continue our lives together," he said.
Anguiano told investigators during a four-hour interview on Wednesday he had confronted his wife about a possible affair. "I had suspicions," he said. "I still don't believe it."
Sheriff Kenny Furlong said Anguiano may have delayed the investigation by not earlier discussing his wife's possible involvement with another man, but reiterated that Anguiano is not a suspect in her disappearance.
"Her welfare is still of grave concern to this department," Furlong said.
The couple's youngest son, 3-year-old Andrew, was found about 9:30 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of a Dayton grocery store 12 miles from home. He had suffered a blow to his head and an abrasion above his eye. He said he'd been pushed from a blue truck by a man he knew as Juan.
Andrew also told police his mother was dead.
About 1 p.m. Monday, Bertha's unoccupied 1992 Ford Tempo was found in the parking lot of the school. Her keys and purse were gone.
"We don't have any evidence a crime has been committed, except for the statements of the 3-year-old boy," said Furlong.
On Wednesday morning, as officers canvassed the Anguianos' east Carson City neighborhood, they enlisted the help of crossing guards who showed the missing mother's photo to children as they crossed the street to Empire School.
In a chance interview with two students there, Furlong said, they recalled seeing Bertha on Monday morning standing next to her car at the school and talking with a man.
"The lead does appear to be credible. The students were able to tell us exactly where the car was parked, which is where we found it Monday," he said.
Tapes from surveillance cameras at the Smith's grocery store in Dayton will be reviewed, Furlong said. Subpoenas requesting Bertha's cell phone records have been issued. There has been no activity on any financial and cell phone accounts in her name, he said.
Weekend receipts totaling about $3,700 from the family's 2-year-old video store, La Casita Video on Woodside Drive, were never deposited. Ordinarily, Bertha would have made the deposit on Monday, according to Furlong.
Filiberto Anguiano was at his job Monday morning with Northern Pipeline about 1,000 feet away from the Smith's store when little Andrew was discovered by a store employee. He said he saw police arrive and wondered what was happening.
Two hours later during a phone call home at lunch time, Anguiano said, his 9-year-old son Eduardo, who had stayed home from school with a cold, told him police had been to the house. Anguiano rushed home, where deputies told him of his wife's disappearance.
Bertha Anguiano, 33 years old, has 13 brothers and sisters, many of them living in Southern California. They found out she was missing on Monday morning when her brother Ricardo Mariscal called to explain why he hadn't come to visit as scheduled the week before.
Three of her brothers drove to Carson City on Wednesday.
"It's kind of hard to understand what has happened," Ricardo Mariscal said. He and brothers Ismael and Pedro say they are sure Bertha wouldn't leave on her own.
The siblings have decided not to tell their elderly parents of Bertha's disappearance. "If she is dead, we definitely won't keep that from them," Mariscal said solemnly.
Anguiano said he's full of despair, wondering where is wife of 10 years has gone.
"Not knowing anything is the hardest," he said. "It's all I can think about."
The Anguianos' three sons are leaving the area at the suggestion of the Sheriff's Department. They will go to Southern California until the disappearance is resolved, Anguiano said.
Anguiano will appear on CNN and Good Morning America this morning, he said.
As for work, Northern Pipeline officials told him they would issue him a check for his vacation time. But he doesn't know when he'll go back to work or how he'll make his mortgage payment.
"I need to keep looking for her. I can't let the Sheriff's Department stop," he said. "I've got to go day by day and stay calm. Everyone knows we were close.