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Crime News Missing Persons

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

Rudy Farias came home shortly after he was reported missing and has been living with his mom all along, despite her maintaining for eight years that he was still gone, Houston police say. 

By Elisabeth Ford
What Is A Citizen Detective?

Days after a Texas man was found alive eight years after purportedly going missing as a teenager, police have revealed that he was never really missing, and has been living with his mother all along.

The Houston Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit said at a Thursday press conference that 25-year-old Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV told police he had returned home the day after being reported missing on March 6, 2015, when the then 17-year-old's mom said he never came home after walking his dogs.

From 2015 through 2023, police received tips and leads — including statements from relatives, friends and medical professionals — that indicated Farias was not missing.

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

Police said Farias’ mother, Janie Santana, continued to deceive police, making them believe that her son was still missing. Farias had even made contact with Houston patrol officers during the eight-year period of his purported disappearance.

“During these contacts, fictitious names and date of births were given, misleading officers, and Rudy would remain missing,” Lt. Christopher Zamora said during the press conference.

Rudolph Farias

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is not charging Farias or his mother at this time for making the fictitious reports and failing to properly identify themselves.

Questions surrounding Farias’ disappearance were brought to light when neighbors said that the man was never missing, and that they had often seen him.

"He used to come in my garage, chill with my cousin, son, and daughter," Kisha Ross — who lived on the same street as Santana, according to court records — told Houston-based TV station KTRK. "That boy has never been missing."

Neighbors said they knew Farias as Dolph, which is short for his given name Rudolph. Ross’ cousin, Broderick Conley, said he often hung out with Farias and they would have “laughing good times” together.

Santana claimed that the man her neighbors had known was actually her nephew, but after sharing a picture of her nephew, her neighbors said that wasn’t him.

Their confusion came after the Texas Center for the Missing announced July 1 that Farias was found after being missing for eight years. 

The organization shared a statement with KTRK on Farias' family’s behalf, stating, My son Rudy is receiving the care he needs to overcome his trauma, but at this time, he is nonverbal and not able to communicate with us. We are asking for privacy during this difficult time but will share more details as Rudy continues to heal."

Farias’ mother told KTRK that her son was found unresponsive at a southeast Houston church at 10 p.m. on June 29.

RELATED: Man Sentenced for Using Murder-For-Hire Website to Attempt Hit on 14-Year-Old Sexual Abuse Victim

Houston activist Quanell X claimed to media outlets on Wednesday that Farias privately told him and an investigator that, while living with his mother during the time he was thought to be missing, she had been drugging and sexually abusing him, KHOU 11 reported.

However, Houston police disputed Quanell X’s claims during their Thursday press conference, without directly naming the activist.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and that investigators have reached out to adult protective services "to ensure [Farias] has a method to recover.”

Officials said in the press conference that Farias is now back with his mother "by choice."

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