A Texas man reported missing as a teen in 2015 was only missing for 1 day, police say

Rudy Farias' aunts, from left, Sylvia Sanchez Lopez, Pauline Sanchez and Michelle Sanchez speak outside Houston Police headquarters Thursday after HPD Chief Troy Finner gave an update on the Farias case. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON — The case of a Texas man who was reported missing as a teenager in 2015 and found alive last week at a church took an unexpected turn Thursday when police revealed it all was a hoax — the man was only gone for a day, but he and his mother maintained the ruse for eight years by using false names.

Prosecutors did not file any charges against Janie Santana and her son, Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV, but the investigation is continuing, Houston police detectives said. They gave few other details about where they believe the case could lead.


Santana’s family said they suspected Farias was not missing and blamed Santana for keeping him away from them all these years.

“We’re upset that (authorities) are not going to do anything,” Pauline Sanchez Rodriguez, Farias’ aunt, said as she and other family members stood outside Houston police headquarters.

Santana did not return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.

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 spent the past eight years since he was reported missing as a 17-year-old who took his two dogs for a walk near his family’s home in northeast Houston and never came back. Now 25, he was hospitalized after police found him last week, and detectives interviewed him and his mother on Wednesday.

Investigators concluded Farias returned home the day after he was reported missing but “the mother, Janie, continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing,” Lt. Christopher Zamora said during a news conference.

During the past eight years, Farias and his mother had various interactions with officers, police said.

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

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