Texas Mom Vanishes on Way to Work — as Police Investigate 'Suspicious' Texts She Might Not Have Sent
Over the weekend, more than 70 volunteers on horseback combed an area of northeast Houston, not far from where Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez's truck was found
The search continues for 29-year-old Houston mother Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez, who authorities say was last seen last Thursday as she headed to her job as a paralegal.
Investigators tell PEOPLE that several text messages were sent from Rodriguez’ phone after she disappeared — but that police are investigating whether or not they were actually sent by her or someone else because of their “suspicious” nature.
Over the weekend, more than 70 volunteers on horseback combed an area of northeast Houston, not far from where the young mother’s truck was found Friday morning.
At this point, the efforts of Texas EquuSearch teams have turned up no sign of Jimenez-Rodriguez, who has a 3-year-old daughter.
The search is expected to resume Thursday.
Jimenez-Rodriguez was last seen last Thursday morning at around 8 a.m., when she dropped her daughter off at a babysitter’s home in Texarkana.
According to police, Jimenez-Rodriguez returned to her home after that to retrieve her purse and gym bag before heading to the office.
After Jiminez-Rodriguez left, according to police, a text from her phone went to a co-worker saying she’d be late to work because she needed to pick up her sick daughter, the The Houston Chronicle reports.
But the paper spoke to the woman’s sister, Gloria Jimenez, who said the babysitter told her she never heard from Jimenez-Rodriguez after her daughter was dropped off.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Jimenez said more texts were sent, including a follow-up message to the same co-worker, saying she was headed in to work. But Jimenez-Rodriguez never showed. Then, the co-worker got one final text.
“The message said that two Hispanic males were following her in a vehicle,” Jimenez told the Chronicle. “And that was the last text.”
Jimenez-Rodriguez was last seen wearing a T-shirt, pastel slacks, and ballet flats. She was carrying a tan purse.
A notice on her disappearance says Jimenez-Rodriguez has unique moles on her face, including one by her right temple.
Those with information concerning her whereabouts is asked to call the Houston Police Department Missing Persons Unit at (832) 394-1840 or Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.