A community activist who first aired claims that Rudy Farias was abused by his mother has doubled down after a denial by Houston police.
Quanell X, who says he was in the room with Mr Farias when he spoke to investigators on Wednesday, emerged from the meeting to tell reporters that the 25-year-old had described being hidden and subjected to abuse by his mother, Janie Santana, for eight years after she reported him missing in 2015.
Houston police officials denied this account at a press conference on Thursday, saying there was no evidence that Mr Farias was abused.
Reached by The Independent shortly after the press conference, Quanell X said: “I believe that Rudy is absolutely a victim.”
He went on to repeat his claims to reporters the day before while alleging that Mr Farias had been instructed to lie to police by his mother.
“The kid was distraught ... absolutely distraught,” Quanell X said of Mr Farias’ 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.”
At Thursday’s press conference, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner confirmed that Mr Farias had never actually been missing as his mother claimed.
Ms Santana filed a missing person’s report on 6 March 2015, claiming that her then-17-year-old son had vanished while walking the family’s two dogs. An open police investigation into his disappearance continued until Ms Santana said he had been discovered outside a church in Houston on 29 June.
Ms Santana’s account of what happened to her son came under intense scrutiny when neighbours emerged to say that they’d seen him around the neighbourhood during the years of his alleged disappearance.
On Thursday, police confirmed that Mr Farias had in fact returned home the day after he was reported missing - but that Ms Santana maintained he was still unaccounted for.
Houston police said both Mr Farias and Ms Santana had claimed he was her nephew when interviewed by police in the missing person’s investigation.
“Both Janie, Rudy’s mother, and Rudy himself gave fictitious names while interacting with various patrol officers,” Lieutenant Christopher Zamora, a detective with Houston Police Department (HPD)’s missing persons unit, told reporters.
“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.”
Mr Zamora said the district attorney had declined to lay charges “at this time” for making fictitious reports to police.
“Being missing is not a crime,” Mr Zamora told the press conference.
Mr Farias, who was 17 when he was first reported missing, was considered an adult under Texas state law.
Mr Zamora denied Quanell X’s claims that Mr Farias had suffered sexual and physical abuse during the past eight years, saying: “We do take all allegations seriously and any new information or facts that we receive will be investigated.”
Police said they would not release any information about the possible sexual abuse of a victim, and declined to comment whether mental health had been a factor in the long-running saga.
They did not discuss a possible motive for the eight-year deception.
Quanell X, meanwhile, called for Ms Santana to face charges.
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