A vehicle belonging to Brissa Romero, 17, of Carpentersville, (inset) was located in a pond near Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills Monday afternoon. | Background Photo: Max Weingardt; Inset: Provided

Fire department crews Tuesday morning resumed searching for 17-year-old Brissa Romero, who went missing over a week ago in Vernon Hills, after her vehicle was found in a pond Monday.

The Countryside Fire Protection District around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday activated the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), bringing in specialized dive and sonar equipment from fire departments throughout Lake County and McHenry County.

The search effort has entered its second day focused at a retention pond near Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills.

Vernon Hills Chief of Police Patrick Kreis said during a press conference that an analysis of Romero’s cellphone data led investigators Monday morning to the pond.

A police supervisor arrived on the scene and met with a resident, who had been walking around the bank of the pond.

Police tape off an area near a pond at Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills Monday afternoon while searching for Brissa Romero, 17, of Carpentersville, who has been missing for the past week. | Photo: Max Weingardt

The resident pointed out a backpack that was floating along the edge of the pond, Kreis said.

The officer found the backpack belonged to Romero, 17, of Carpentersville.

Kreis said Romero’s 2008 Nissan Rogue was located by fire crews the same afternoon submerged in the pond, but the girl was not inside it.

“Based on the condition of the vehicle and all of the evidence we have at this point, it appears Brissa was in that vehicle when it drove into the lake,” Kreis said.

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The police chief said Romero remains missing and search efforts are ongoing to locate her.

Police and fire officials hold a press conference at the Vernon Hills Police Department after missing 17-year-old Brissa Romero’s vehicle was located in a pond near Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills Monday afternoon. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Investigators found video footage from a fast food restaurant approximately a mile away from the pond that captured Romero parking her vehicle.

She walked into the restaurant and walked out of it by herself, the video showed.

Kreis said she then drove away from the restaurant about 15 minutes before her phone last pinged to the pond.

The video from the restaurant is one of the reasons investigators believe Romero was operating the vehicle when it drove into the pond.

“It’s our belief that we need to continue to search this pond,” Kreis said.

A vehicle belonging to Brissa Romero, 17, of Carpentersville, (inset) was located in a pond near Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills Monday afternoon. | Background Photo: Max Weingardt; Insets: Provided

Dulce Romero, the girl’s sister, spoke at the press conference and said she was thankful for everyone in the community who has helped spread the word on the case.

She was joined by dozens of friends and family members. “In my heart, I still believe she’s out there,” Dulce said.

Ernie’s Wrecker Service pulled the Nissan out of the water and investigators from the Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT) were seen surrounding the car.

Kreis said the deepest part of the pond is just under 20 feet, which is also the area where Romero’s vehicle went into.

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“The vehicle traveled as much as 60 feet into the pond,” Kreis added.

Monday’s efforts focused on the vehicle and the immediate area near the vehicle but the entire pond has not been searched yet.

The police chief said the area where the car went into the pond was at a “T” intersection.

Dulce Romero, the sister of missing Brissa Romero, speaks to members of the media during a press conference Monday afternoon. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

“From the preliminary review of what happened, it really appears like this is a case where a driver, unfamiliar with the area, failed to navigate a turn and went through the intersection, down an embankment, into the pond,” Kreis said.

There are no barriers at the end of the roadway that would keep a vehicle from driving into the pond.

Countryside Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Ron Echtenacher said the pond is one to two acres in size.

The vehicle, which had its rear hatch open and at least one of the windows broken, was towed to a controlled location so evidence technicians could examine it.

Police believe Romero is deceased and are treating it as a recovery operation.

Vernon Hills Deputy Police Chief Shannon Holubetz told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that there are no indications of foul play.

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A vehicle belonging to Brissa Romero was located in a pond near Executive Way and Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills Monday afternoon, prompting a heavy police response. | Photo: Max Weingardt

Romero has been missing since December 4, according to Carpentersville Deputy Police Chief Kevin Stankowitz.

Stankowitz said Romero was seen on surveillance video that day while visiting a family member in Des Plaines.

She was seen a short time later on surveillance video at her work in Schaumburg to pick up an iPad.

Romero then left for a holiday work party that was taking place at Bowlero in Vernon Hills on the evening of December 4.

No one at the party ever saw the girl, Stankowitz said, adding that Romero does not have a history of running away from home.

Family and friends of Brissa Romero, 17, of Carpentersville, held a prayer vigil and gathering at Milwaukee Avenue and Route 45 in Vernon Hills Sunday evening as the search continues for the missing teenager who vanished last week. | Photo: Craig / Captured News

Family and friends held a vigil Sunday afternoon into the evening along Route 21 near Route 45 on the border of Vernon Hills and Lincolnshire.

Attendees chanted “Bring Brissa home” and held up signs to passing motorists. “160 hours since we last saw her,” one of the posters read.

She is a graduate of Barrington High School and a current student at Harper College in Palatine.

“We’re going to do everything we can to continue to work cooperatively with the Carpentersville Police Department and support the family and share with them every bit of information we learn, as we learn it,” Kreis said.