Police and volunteer groups in Texas are searching for a Houston woman who has been missing for over a week, and investigators say they have not ruled out foul play.
According to KTRK, Erica Hernandez was last seen in the early morning hours of April 17. That previous Saturday night, she had first gone to visit family members and later went to a friend’s home. She is believed to have left the friend’s home at about 2:30 a.m. April 17.
Erica was seen on Ring doorbell camera video leaving the home of her sister-in-law the night of April 16 after dropping off some food. She is seen walking back to her vehicle, where her three children — ages 3, 16, and 19 — were waiting in the car.
Watch the video here, at KTRK’s website.
According to the report, Erica, 40, dropped off her children and then went to visit a friend in southwest Houston. Authorities have not publicly identified the friend she visited. Family told the news station that Erica was wearing the same clothes–a teal V-neck shirt and jeans–as she had been earlier Saturday night. Her sister-in-law Eldia Hernandez said that nothing seemed out of the ordinary when she last saw Erica.
“She was fine. I mean, she was happy,” Eldia Hernandez told KTRK. “She was a little tired, but that was about it.”
Family and volunteers have organized intensive searches for Erica Hernandez, focusing on the area where she may have started the drive home after visiting her friend early April 17. Erica was reportedly driving a 2020 GMC Acadia with an “Aggie Mom” decal on the back of the vehicle, and investigators reportedly believe she was last seen near McHard Road and the Fort Bend Tollway.
Erica’s brother told the news station that would have been an alternate route for Erica to have driven home. Her family says that it is deeply out of character for Erica to be out of touch with her children.
“We called the hospitals, we asked for her name and asked for Jane Doe’s nothing,” Eldia Hernandez, Erica’s sister-in-law, told KTRK.
“We’re all frustrated. We’re all in disbelief because this is not like her. This is not her routine. Her kids are her world, and she would never ever leave her kids.”
Houston police told KTRK that investigators have not yet ruled out foul play, and that the missing persons investigation remains active.
According to the report, Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee met with family members this week and plans to announce on Monday the details of her initiative to help the search.
Texas EquuSearch and Texas United Coalition are aiding in the search. Albert Flores of the Texas United Coalition has reportedly donated $1,000 to the search effort. A GoFundMe campaign has also raised additional funds for the volunteer search, but has not yet met its goal.
Anyone with information on Erica Hernandez’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Houston Police Department at 832-394-1840, HPD Crime Stoppers at 713-521-4600, orTexas EquuSearch at 281-309-9500.
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[Feature image: Erica Hernandez/GoFundMe]