Editor’s Note: Since this story first published, Houston police investigating Farias’ case have announced he returned home a day after he was reported missing and has been with his mother in the years since. Read the latest here.
A Houston man who went missing as a teen more than eight years ago was found sleeping in front of a local church, according to police.
Rudolph “Rudy” Farias IV had been missing since March 6, 2015, according to a missing persons flyer published by the Texas Center for the Missing.
On June 29, the Houston Police Department received a call for service, responded to the church in east Houston and later confirmed that the individual was Farias, a department spokesperson said.
It’s unclear where Farias has been over the years, and officials did not offer further details on his past whereabouts or what led to the call that reunited him with his family.
He is “receiving the care he needs to overcome his trauma,” his mother, Janie Santana, said in a statement for the family.
Farias is nonverbal and is unable to communicate with his family, according to the statement.
He was found by a good Samaritan who called 911, the family statement said, adding they had no other information on his case.
The Houston Fire Department responded to the scene at the request of police, Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña told CNN. When they arrived, Farias’ mother was also there, Peña said.
Crews assessed Farias but he refused to be taken to a hospital, according to Peña. Farias’ mother signed a form refusing her son’s transport, he said. At that point, Farias was left with family and police, Peña said.
When he was initially found, Farias had an item on him that identified a family member, police said. That family member was called and his mother arrived on scene, according to police.
The Texas Center for the Missing would not comment on the circumstances in which Farias was found, only telling CNN that its focus is on the missing person and their family.
“Our mission is to continue supporting our families whose loved ones go missing,” Melissa Rangel told CNN on Monday. “Rudy Farias has been missing for eight years and now has been located safe. We at Texas Center for the Missing continue to support our families through reunification and want to continue to support the families through the healing and the hope when their loved ones are missing.”
Farias, then 17, was walking his two dogs in northwest Houston when he vanished, CNN affiliate KHOU reported.
Farias’ whereabouts for the last eight years remain unclear. In September 2018, police received information from family that Farias was spotted sleeping behind the residence of a family member, according to police.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 360,000 reports of missing children were made to the FBI in 2022 – a figure that may include duplicates.
The police department’s Missing Person’s Unit has been interested in interviewing Farias and his family but has been unable to conduct those interviews as of Monday morning, the spokesperson said.
Investigators have scheduled an interview with Farias on Wednesday, police said. The case remains under investigation.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Sarah Moon and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.