Texas man reported missing in 2015 was home the whole time, police say
Jul 6, 2023, 2:15 PM
(TexasEquuSearch/Courtesy of Houston Chronicle via AP)
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas man who was reported missing as a teenager in 2015 ultimately returned home a day later but he and his mother deceived officers by giving false names over the ensuing eight years, police said Thursday.
Houston police detectives said prosecutors have declined to bring false report charges against Janie Santana and her son, Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV, but that their investigation is continuing.
The announcement came a week after police said they found Farias after receiving a call about a person lying on the ground in front of a southeast Houston church.
Authorities had not previously said where Farias, now 25, spent the eight years since he was reported missing after taking his two dogs for a walk near his family’s home in northeast Houston. He was hospitalized after police found him last week and detectives interviewed him and his mother on Wednesday.
“After investigators talked with him yesterday, it was discovered that Rudy returned home the following day on March 8, 2015,” Lt. Christopher Zamora said during a news conference. “The mother, Janie, continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing.”
After Farias was reported missing, Houston police and Texas Equusearch, a civilian search and recovery team, looked for him without success, although his dogs were later found.
In the years following, there were several possible sightings of Farias, according to a private investigator hired by the teen′s mother a few months after he went missing. They included one sighting in 2018 that police responded to, but the investigation remained open as a missing person case.
Upon police announcing they’d found her son, Santana released a statement saying, he “is receiving the care he needs to overcome his trauma, but at this time, he is nonverbal and not able to communicate with us.”
Police Chief Troy Finner declined Thursday to answer questions about the mental health of Farias or his mother and would not say what motivated their actions. He said police are “right at the beginning” of their investigation into what happened.
Police also said patrol officers responded to a burglary call Wednesday night at the family’s home and that it is now part of their investigation.