Police Back Up Neighbors, Say Teen Never Was Missing

Rudy Farias and his mother are not being charged over eight-year search
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2023 4:40 PM CDT
Police: Rudy Farias Was With His Mother the Whole Time
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner speaks during a news conference at HPD headquarters on Thursday about the Rudy Farias case.   (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Rudy Farias, who was reported missing eight years ago and said to have been found safe last weekend, indeed was unaccounted for in 2015—for one day, Houston police said Thursday. Officers said at a news conference that Farias, who was then 17, returned home the day after his family reported him missing, People reports. Instead of informing police, for the next eight years, Lt. Christopher Zamora said, "Rudy's mother continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing." Over the years, Rudy Farias spoke with officers many times but gave them fake names and birth dates, confusing their search.

"He made contact with patrol officers out on the street," Zamora said, per NBC News. But by misleading them, the officer said, "Rudy would remain missing." Relatives and friends would see Farias at his mother's house, USA Today reports, and neighbors said they had contact with him, too. Janie Santana told everyone that was her nephew, not her son. Farias is still living with his mother, which police said is his choice. After interviewing him, officials said he did not report being sexually abused during the eight years. If that changes, Zamora said, police will investigate the allegation.

For now, Harris County prosecutors don't plan to charge mother or son with making false police reports or anything else. "Being missing is not a crime," Zamora said. Police on Thursday disputed claims by a local activist that Farias told him he'd been sexually abused by his mother. Police investigators have contacted adult protective services, he said, adding, "We've also connected Rudy with victim services to ensure that he has a method to recover." (More missing person stories.)

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