Composite screenshot of ABC13 Houston YouTube video (Featured: Rudy Farias)
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The Houston man who had allegedly disappeared eight years ago when he was still a teenager and who was reportedly found outside a church last week was never actually missing, Houston police have confirmed.
On Monday, TheBlaze reported that 25-year-old Rudolph "Rudy" Farias IV had been found unresponsive outside a church in the Houston area two days earlier. His mother, since identified as Janie Santana, claimed at the time that her son appeared to be in "bad shape," with cuts and bruises all over his body and blood in his hair. She also alleged that he was almost entirely nonverbal, but she expressed gratitude that he had been found alive.
Farias' reappearance was so unlikely that Tim Miller, the director of Texas EquuSearch, described it as "a miracle." Now, after several reports from neighbors and other family members, Houston police have confirmed that Farias was never missing and that he had been living with Santana the whole time.
In March 2015, Santana filed a missing persons report, claiming that her son, then 17, had gone out to walk his dogs and hadn't returned home. Though she continued to insist in the days and weeks that followed that he was missing, police now claim that Farias actually returned home safely the following day and had likely been living at home ever since.
In the ensuing years, both Santana and Farias had various interactions with police, but during those interactions, mom and son provided "fictitious" names and birthdates to obscure their true identities and "deceive police," said Lt. Christopher Zamora of Houston PD. In 2018, officers even went to Santana's home, possibly on a tip from Farias' cousin, but did not find Farias there.
Since news broke of Farias' reappearance, neighbors and family members have also claimed to have seen and interacted with Farias in the last eight years. Cassandra Lopez, described as Farias' cousin, claimed that their grandmother often talked about speaking with Farias. "She would just say, ‘I saw Rudy — he came to check on me and we said hello and had a little conversation.’ She never went into detail, but she would say she saw him," Lopez stated.
"We always in our hearts knew that he wasn’t really missing," she added.
Santana's neighbor, Kisha Ross, claimed that Farias, whom she knows as "Dolph," regularly came over her house to hang out with her kids and other family members. "That boy hasn’t been missing for no eight years," Ross told reporters this week. "That boy comes to my house. He’s been in my living room."
Local activist Quanell X, described by the Daily Beast as "controversial," went so far as to allege that Santana had not only kept Farias in her home "like a slave" but that she had also sexually abused Farias repeatedly during the time she claimed he was missing. However, police have cast doubt on those allegations, claiming that Farias has made no such claims about his mother and has returned to her home "by choice." "He’s a grown man," Houston Police Chief Troy Finner reminded reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
Finner also noted that police are still "at the beginning of" their investigation, which remains ongoing. "As we get more information and when it’s appropriate, we’ll send out information," he said.
Police also confirmed that Santana had filed a false report about Farias in 2015, but they added that she likely would not face charges for doing so. Finner indicated that prosecuting her might not be worthwhile since filing a false report is only a misdemeanor similar to a traffic ticket.
The relationship between Santana and Farias may appear troublesome, but their family history is also rife with tragedy. In 2011, Farias' brother, Charles, was killed in a motorcycle accident, an event which may have caused Farias to experience depression and perhaps even PTSD. Then, three years later, Farias' father, Rudolph Farias III, a cop in the Houston PD traffic division, committed suicide. At the time of his death, Farias III had been relieved of his police duties.
Farias' relatives did not respond to a request for comment from the Houston Chronicle.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.