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Crime News Missing Persons

Rudy Farias Says Mom's "Brainwashing" Led to Him Staying Home While Investigators Thought He Was Missing

"It felt like Stockholm syndrome honestly,” Rudy Farias said of his mom allegedly manipulating him into staying home for eight years to maintain the lie that he'd been missing the entire time.

By Elisabeth Ford
What Is A Citizen Detective?

Rudy Farias, the Houston man whose mom claimed he was missing since he was 17, has spoken out for the first time, saying his mother brainwashed him into staying home for the past eight years, though he denied that she ever sexually abused him.

Farias broke his silence in an interview with Fox 26 Houston, where he admitted he was “stuck at home” with his mother. "It's as if I lived in a prison," he said.

RELATED: Houston Man Whose Mom Maintained He Was Missing Since He Was 17 No Longer Wants Contact with Her, Aunt Says

“She never locked me in or handcuffed me or anything like that,” Farias said about his mom, Janie Santana. “I had free will to leave, it just felt like brainwashing, honestly.”

Farias' story was thrust into the spotlight on July 3, when the Texas Center for the Missing announced that he'd been found alive after supposedly being missing for eight years. His mom's neighbors, who saw reports of Farias resurfacing, came forward to say that he was never missing and had been living with his mother the whole time. Police later confirmed Farias had indeed been living with Santana since being reported missing eight years prior.

Rudolph Farias

When asked in the Fox 26 interview about how his mother manipulated him into staying home, Farias said, “It felt like Stockholm syndrome honestly,” relating his feelings to the psychological phenomenon of a victim feeling affection toward their captor.

His mother “just held me against my will mentally, not physically,” the now 25-year-old man said. “She was bombarding me with negative thoughts.”

Farias said the entire ordeal started when he was issued a speeding ticket as a teenager.

He said his mother would tell him, “‘Oh, you’re gonna get arrested because you have a speeding ticket,’ or something like that, something minor, something innocent... It just escalated from there from, you know.

RELATED: Police Say Texas Man Believed To Have Disappeared as a Teen 8 Years Ago Was Never Actually Missing

Farias claimed that the alleged mental manipulation from his mother is what kept him from seeking a life independent from her, saying, “She was my only parent, she was the only person I ever really had besides my brother.”

His older brother died in a motorcycle accident in 2011, at the age of 21.

His mother had previously told authorities that Farias had been struggling with depression, anxiety and PTSD from abruptly losing his brother, while maintaining the façade that he was missing.

“When I lost my brother, I didn’t have anyone to teach me how to live,” he said. “I didn’t have confidence or trust in myself, so I just depended on my mom all my life.”

RELATED: "That Boy Has Never Been Missing": Neighbors Question Years-Long Disappearance of Man Who Was Recently Found

​When asked if he knew why his mom was pretending he was missing, he said he blocked that part from his memory.

“I just want to understand who I am and what I’m trying to do when I try to live my life the way I want to and not how she wants me to,” Farias said.

Farias explained how his mom kept him hidden from friends and family for eight years. When company would visit the house, Farias said he was forced to hide in his room and not make noise.

“Somebody would come up, my mom would just tell me to stay in the room, keep the door locked, don’t let them in [and] don’t make any sounds,” he said.

“I would just have to listen to my family, be happy and cheerful on the other side of the f-cking door,” Farias said. “I wanted to scream for them, but at the same time I couldn’t. The only person I could trust was my mom.”

Farias met with investigators and local activist Quanell X at a Houston hotel last week. Quanell told Fox 26 reporters that Farias said that his mother forced him to sleep in her bed and that he told the activist, “I had to be her husband now.”

At a June 6 press conference, investigators disputed any claims that Santana sexually abused her son.

RELATED: Missing Texas Man Found Alive and in "Bad Shape" Eight Years After Vanishing as a Teen

Farias told Fox 26 that it “basically felt like” he was playing the role of Santana’s husband, but denied that he was sexually abused by his mother.

“It wouldn’t be anything sexual or anything like that. I wouldn’t lie about that because there’s plenty of people that need honest truths when it comes to those things that just muddies the water to lie about those types of things,” he said.

Farias added, "I never said anything bad about her in that regard.”

When asked if he could ever have a normal mother-son relationship with Santana, he said, “Not after all of that. Not after everything she did and to be honest, I don’t want one with her.”

Farias’ mother reported him missing March 7, 2015, but investigators now say he returned home a day later.

The 25-year-old has been staying with a friend since it came to light that he wasn't really missing.

"It feels like, I'm just at peace now,” he said, admitting he feels relief after leaving his mother’s house. “Just feels happy, you know?"

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