The twisted tale of ‘missing’ person Rudy Farias

Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Farias IV was 17 when he went missing on March 6, 2015 from Houston, Texas.   He was last seen walking his two dogs.  The dogs returned home without their leashes.   There was no sign of Rudy.  Apparently.

We will start with some background into Rudy.

Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV was born in Houston in October 1997 to parents Rudolph Farias, a Houston police officer, and mother Janie Santana.

Rudy endured a lot of trauma in his life.  On February 13, 2011, his half-brother Charles Uresti (21) was killed in a motorcycle crash.  According to Dateline, Rudy and his mother Janie were first on the scene of the crash.

“He watched his best friend die right in front of him,” Brenda Paradise told Dateline.

“His brother was his best friend in the world. He’s just gone through so much more than anyone his age ever should.”

Rudy made the following social media post about Charles’ death:

On August 19, 2014. Rudy’s father (also named Rudolph) took his life by a gunshot wound.  The older Farias was a Houston police officer that was under investigation at the time for ticket fraud. 

An investigation by KHOU 11 found that officers were falsely claiming to have witnessed speeding infractions in order to claim overtime by testifying in court.

Rudolph Sr had reportedly earned $158,000 in overtime in the three years prior to his death.

I believe that Rudy’s dad never claimed him as his own.  

In the obituary, the Rudy we are discussing in this case isn’t listed.

We will now goto 2015, when Rudy vanished.  He was apparently suffering from depression at the time, due to the trauma he had endured in the past few years.

At 6pm on 6 March 2015, Rudy left home at around 6pm to take his two dogs for a walk near Tidwell and Park Drive in northwest Houston.

A few hours later one of the dogs returned home. The next morning, the second dog showed up, according to a missing person report.

Rudy was reported missing the day after he left the home, 7 March.  

There are some missing person flyers still floating around the internet.  On them, it says that Rudy had been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety, and had likely stopped taking his prescribed medication at the time of his disappearance. He was described as 5’8”, weighing about 215 pounds and having brown hair and brown eyes.

The intensive search for Rudy lasted until March 10 and was called off due to bad weather.  

His cousin Michelle Rodriquez told the New York Post at the time that Rudy had the mental age of a 10 year old.

We are not sure of the exact date of the interview with the New York Post, but what we learned in 2023 is that Rudy actually returned home on 8 March 2015.

Despite this, his mother and family kept up the story that he was still missing.  They created a GFM on 22 March 2015.  

“It has been over a Month and Rudy is still Missing,” it stated. “Please help us find RUDY FARIAS IV!”

Janie said Rudy was suffering from physical and mental disabilities. The fundraiser made $2,025.  

Houston police spoke with Dateline in April 2015 and said that they did not suspect foul play in Rudy’s case but that they were treating it as a missing persons case.

Texas EquuSearch joined the search for Rudy. 

In 2016, a year after Rudy went missing, Janie apparently got word that a boy resembling him had shown up at a hospital in California.  Janie and her sister Sylvia Sanchez-Lopez flew out to check if it was him.  

‘When I got to the boy’s hospital bed his family had already found him. I said can I please look at his face, just to make sure,’ Sylvia said of the trip to California.

‘Rudy has a mole underneath one of his eyes and that wasn’t there. It broke my heart that it wasn’t him. When Janie came out of the room she seemed to be forcing her tears. I would call them Crocodile tears.

‘All of a sudden she collapsed onto the floor. I was thinking, come on, this is so overly dramatic, this cannot be real. She was a darn good actor. They put her in a bed and she stayed there for two more days getting attention and sympathy from the doctors.

‘I called my siblings, my husband, I said something is not right. I did not want to be part of that anymore. That’s when something clicked.’

In 2017, Janie told KHOU 11 that detectives had told her Rudy could have been abducted and sold to human traffickers.

You can hear a clip of that here:

There is a timeline I found online regarding sightings of Rudy and according to that, in 2017, an ex-boyfriend of Janie’s saw Rudy at her home.  

On February 12, 2017, Rudy’s uncle Jerry Santana did a press conference where he said he had potential leads in the case.  Jerry ended up passing away in April 2017 in a motorcycle accident.

In 2018, Rudy’s cousin Cassandra Lopez called Houston police and said that she had seen Rudy at his mother’s house.

Police went to Janie’s house at the time and said they did not see any sign of Rudy.

Lieutenant Christopher Zamora, a detective with Houston Police Department (HPD)’s missing persons unit, told reporters recently that officers had unspecified interactions with Rudy during the eight years he was “missing”. It was unclear when exactly this happened.

During those interactions, he said both mother and son gave false names and dates of birth to officers.  Janie also told police that Rudy was her nephew and not her son.  

According to Click 2 Houston, neigbbors saw Rudy often at his mother’s home.  They said they knew him by the name “Dolph”.

“When he is with us, he doesn’t really say much or who he is. We just know he lives down here with his mom, goes to work with her around 6 p.m. to 7 or 8 in the morning. He just been freely walking down the street,” said Jeanay Wyble.

A neighbor shared a text message with Click2Houston between the neighbor and Janie where she appears to identify herself as Dolph’s mother.

Cassandra has since spoken about how their grandmother would often communicate with Rudy while he was ‘missing.’

“She would just say, I saw Rudy. You know, he came to check on me and we said hello and we had a little conversation. She never went into detail, but she would say she saw him.’ 

“My mom would always tell me, ‘Rudy is here … He’s there. He’s in that room,'” another of Rudy’s aunts said. “And Janie said, ‘No she’s lying, she’s losing it.’

Over the years that Rudy was missing, Sylvia (the sister who went to California) and Janie fell out.  Janie got into serious financial trouble which includes a lot of foreclosures and bankruptcy.

The sisters also fought over guardianship of their mother Rosa who ended up dying at age 85 in May 2020.  

Sylvia fought to have Rosa move into her home claiming that her living conditions with Janie were disgusting.

According to a complaint lodged in Harris County, the Santana residence was ‘not a clean, safe, or habitable residence for the Proposed Ward [Rosa], adding: ‘The home had animal urine and feces throughout the house.’

It added: ‘Proposed Ward did not have a bed and slept on the couch which smelled of urine. At the time the Proposed Ward last went into the hospital, she had significant bed sores that had gone untreated.’

At 10pm on 29 June 2023, an apparent passerby good samaritan found a man laying injured on steps outside of the Immaculate Heart Church in Houston.  

I have read varying reports as to what happened in terms of notifying the family, but I have read that Janie was first on the scene was seems unusual.  The man was identified quickly as Rudy.  He had been ‘found’ just 8 miles from his home.  He had cuts, bruises and blood on his head.  He was assessed at the scene by paramedics but he refused to goto hospital.  Rudy was left with his family and police.

At some point though, Rudy was taken to hospital by family members.   Janie posted on Facebook that he was non verbal and unable to communicate.  However, he apparently also told hospital staff that his name was not Rudolph, but it was Julio and that he was 14 years old. 

The family made tons of posts at the time, it would take an entire series to run through them all but this is the gist of what they were posting:

Texas EquuSearch director Tim Miller told KPRC called the latest development a miracle.

“How did this happen? We believe in miracles and this certainly was a miracle,” Tim said. “I can’t even tell you how many times we searched and how many leads and tips came in and they just kind of faded away and now all of a sudden, this.”

I believe that one of the main ways the family ‘identified’ Rudy so quickly, despite him being missing for 8 years, is that he was still wearing a necklace that belonged to his brother Charles. 

On 3 July 2023, Janie released a statement thanking “media and public for all their support”.

The statement reads: “My son Rudy Farias IV was found on Thursday, June 29th, after being missing for eight years. Currently, we do not have any additional information on Rudy’s case. What we do know is at the time of his recovery, a good Samaritan located him unresponsive and immediately called police and 911. 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.”

She also apparently released a photo of Rudy in his hospital bed.  There is some discussion online as to if this photo is current or if it is one from 2012.

On 5 July, 2023, Rudy and Janie met with detectives from Houston Police’s missing person unit at a hotel.

On the same day, local activist and apparent counsellor Quannel X also met with Rudy alone at the same hotel.  

“The kid was distraught … absolutely distraught,” Quanell X said of Rudy’s demeanour in the police interview. “He went back and forth; he acted like a teenager, then he would act 20…is he 23 or 25? He went back and forth between like a child state to a mature state.”

He went on to accuse police of “trying to hide from conducting a shady sham investigation”.

“It’s all confusing as hell to me now,” he said. “I think they’re revictimising the kid all over again.

“I believe he needs extensive medical, psychological help and treatment.”

According to Quanell X, Rudy said he had been drugged and sexually abused by his mother for years.  

Quanell claims that when Rudy returned home after just a few days, Janie told him that he had to go into hiding and he would be arrested if he ever tried to run away again.  

“So she brought him back to the house and hid him in the home and initially whenever investigators would come, she would hide him in the house,” he claimed. “He just kept saying, ‘I don’t want to go to jail.’”

Quanell cried as he told the media about Rudy’s alleged abuse.  He said that Janie made Rudy sleep in bed with her and demanded he fulfill her fantasies before he managed to run away.

“She would ask him to play daddy, she told him that he had to be the husband.” 

“She would cross his boundaries when he would shower,” Quanell claimed as tears streamed down his face.

“He ran away this time, because he was tired. It’s a goddamn shame. I have never in my life heard of a mother doing to a child what this woman did [to Rudy].”

“That young man’s body has scars all over it. He said she often locked him in a room, that she would give him drugs. There’s a whole lot of mental health issues induced because of the drugs.

“That boy said she was the one providing him drugs, hallucinations, mushrooms. She gave this boy serious drugs to the point where he needs serious professional help.

“This young boy was not kidnapped by some strangers… this isn’t the case.”

Houston Police told the media that Rudy did not give any evidence of sexual assault or abuse in their interview with him.  They did say Rudy has been referred to victim services and adult protective services.  This is part of the update they gave after interviewing Rudy:

“After investigators talked with him yesterday, it was discovered that Rudy returned home the following day on March 8 2015.

“Mother Janie continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing. She alleged her nephew was the person friends and family [saw] coming and going.”

The police announced that the district attorney had declined to lay charges “at this time” for making fictitious reports to police.

“Being missing is not a crime,” Lieutenant Zamora told the press conference.

Quanell added: “He was petrified [to speak] but the minute he was by himself he calmed down. When she was in the room he wouldn’t say nothing. The minute she left the room he spoke.

“Based on what that boy told me, I don’t see why she’s not in handcuffs right now.”

Quanell also addressed how Rudy managed to stay missing for so long.   “He was allowed to visit with some of the neighbours under an assumed name. She believed that after so many years people have forgotten about the case. That under an assumed named people wouldn’t put two and two together.”

Janie’s sister Sylvia has made a statement:

‘Myself and a lot of people went out looking for Rudy. We put up posters all around town, from corner to corner. I stood by Janie, I truly believed her.

‘Now, I believe everything Rudy says about her, 100 percent. I’m shocked. I’m without words. The police have to do something.’

“We’re upset that [authorities] are not going to do anything,” Pauline Sanchez Rodriguez, Rudy’s aunt, said.

Brenda Paradise is a PI who apparently tried to find Rudy in 2015.  She spoke to Dateline back then and said:

“Something doesn’t add up.

“There’s something dark and dirty here,” she added.

She spoke recently about how alarm bells went off at the time.  

“He was 18 when he went missing.  Tonight I found the original intake form. It shows that mom wrote the wrong date. She said he was 17.”

Janie would apparently also not give police any recent photos of Rudy for the flyer when he went missing.   The one on the “missing” flyers shows him at 14 years old.

“She told me that she thought if he looked younger, there would be more empathy,” Brenda said. 

Brenda also gave some other info to

When searchers found an asthma inhaler and a backpack at the scene of the disappearance and forwarded photos, family members quickly said they belonged to Rudy.  But after these items were forwarded to the police, they turned out not to belong to Rudy at all. 

“Rudy never even had asthma,” Brenda said. “The backpack had some elementary-school kid’s homework inside it, and that wasn’t Rudy’s either,” she said.

“But the mom had swore up and down that it was his.’ 

The family had posted hospital photos they said showed Rudy in a hospital bed, his face obscured.

“It doesn’t look like any Houston hospital I’ve ever seen,” Brenda said of the grainy snapshots.

Ryan Grayson was another PI who was involved in 2015.  He told the Insider that Janie claimed to have received info that Rudy was being held in Mexico.  She fundraised to be able to get to Mexico to search for him.  

“She showed up late for the fundraiser,” Ryan said. “And she didn’t go around and say hello to any of the people who were donating money or at the fundraiser.”

Ryan tracked down the supposed trafficker and called her.  

“She said that Rudy’s mom had talked to her,” he said. “She said, ‘I told Janie I didn’t want to be involved in her scam.” 

Janie also told Ryan about communications from her son’s purported traffickers in Tijuana, Mexico. The communications were in a dialect distinctly foreign to that region.

“It was like Chicano, Tex-Mex Spanish, like what Janie was speaking,” he said. 

Ryan said that after that, he “washed my hands of the case.”

“I’ve got a strong feeling he was a victim,” Ryan added. “I know he was special needs. It’s a pretty sad situation.”

Current media reports that Rudy wants to stay away from his mother.  His aunt Pauline Sanchez told the Houston Chronicle that he’s taking time away from his Janie to “adjust” and will call his family when he’s “ready”.

“Nobody’s going to go around him and he’s not coming out of that place until there’s no media around and he’s free and comfortable,” Pauline said.

“It won’t be until he knows he can cope by himself.”

On Friday July 7, Houston PD released this ‘update’:

A reminder to our media partners and citizens: This missing person investigation is active & ongoing. We ask that everyone respect the investigative process. We will not have further comments at this time. ‘


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