A Texas man who went missing in at the age of 17 has been found outside of Houston, Texas, church after an eight-year disappearance. Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV was initially reported missing on March 6, 2015, after he failed to come home from walking his two dogs. He has been missing ever since.
Rudy’s mother, Janie Santana, told local news station KTRK that a good Samaritan called 911 after finding her son unresponsive outside the church. She told the outlet that he had cuts and bruises all over his body, as well as blood in his hair. Janie added that she believed her son had been badly beaten and abused.
Janie told the news station that family members had tried speaking to Rudy but that he would only say a few words and curl into a fetal position. She added that he has a long healing journey ahead of him.
“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,” his mom said in a statement provided by the Texas Center for the Missing.
The Texas Center for the Missing made the announcement of Rudy’s reappearance via their Twitter account on July 2, writing, “After 8 long years, Rudy has been located safe. Please continue to keep his family in your prayers as Rudy recovers in the hospital.” The organization had recently tweeted a photo of Rudy and his case information on June 16.
The Houston Police confirmed in a July 3 tweet that “Rudy Farias was found about 10 p.m. last Thursday (June 29) outside a church on 76th St. at Ave. L. HPD missing persons investigators plan to speak with Rudy and his family on Wednesday to determine his whereabouts since he was reported missing in 2015.”
Authorities said at the time of his disappearance that Rudy had been diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
His brother was killed in a 2011 motorcycle crash and Rudy always wore his late sibling’s necklace. He was still wearing it at the time he was discovered outside the church. While Houston police said that they received a call from Rudy’s family in September 2018, alleging that he was living behind a home belonging to a relative, the young man wasn’t found.
Local activist Quanell X told Houston TV news station Fox 26 that he was present when detectives were questioning Rudy outside the church. Acting as Rudy’s messenger to the media, X claimed that the then-teen ran away from home due to alleged abuse on his mother’s part.
“I heard horrific things from that young man …. no child should ever be treated like that by your own mother,” X began, claiming that Rudy was forced to sleep in his mother’s bed and had to “be her husband.” He said that after Rudy initially ran away from home, he returned two days later and was told that he had to continue hiding out at the house or risk being arrested. X also said Rudy claimed Janine would hide him inside the home whenever authorities came to talk to her and would later take him to work with her.
The activist said Rudy told authorities after being found that he didn’t want his mom to get in trouble or go to jail. When asked why he ran away, X claimed Rudy allegedly said that he was tired of his mom “not respecting his boundaries and that he wanted his own life. His exact words were ‘I was tired of living like a slave.'” Rudy’s family has not responded to the allegations.
During a July 5 news conference, Houston Police Lt. Christopher Zamora said that Rudy had been living with his mother in the years during his “disappearance” and that when he spoke to officers between 2015 and 2023, Rudy misled them by giving fake names.
“He made contact with patrol officers out on the street,” Zamora explained, stating that officers had searched the family’s home numerous times during the investigation. “However, during these contacts, fictitious names and dates of birth were given misleading officers, and Rudy would remain missing.”
“Both Janie, Rudy’s mother, and Rudy himself gave fictitious names while interacting with various patrol officers,” Zamora explained. “Janie continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing.” The investigation is ongoing, and Rudy is currently living with his mother by his own decision.
Zamora added that his department had received numerous leads and tips which suggested Rudy was not a missing person. “Many of these facts included contact and statements with relatives, friends and medical professionals,” he said.
Rudy spoke out about his “disappearance” for the first time in an interview with ABC13 on Wednesday, July 12. He said that he felt like his mother was “brainwashing” him into going along with her lie.
“She never locked me in or handcuffed me or anything like that,” Rudy said. “I had free will to leave. … It just kept confusing me, the way she would manipulate me into saying, ‘You’re going to get arrested.'”
Rudy added that he was “locked” in their home “mentally.”
“She was my only parent, the only person I really ever had besides my brother. When I lost my brother, I didn’t have anyone to teach me how to live, or to have confidence or trust in myself. So I depended on my mom all my life,” he said.
Rudy also said that he was isolated from guests in the house and sometimes had to sleep in his mother’s bed, although he denied being sexually assaulted.
“Boundaries she would push or make me uncomfortable, and I would say ‘Stop,’ and she would say, ‘Why? Why? Why? I didn’t do anything wrong,’” he continued.
Rudy confirmed that he is no longer staying in his mother’s home and does not want contact with her. He’s ready to lead a normal life.
“I just want to live my life. I want to have a family, a car, a house. I just want to live my life and be happy,” he concluded.
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