Rudy Farias returned home the day after he supposedly went missing from his northeast Houston home in 2015 and, along with his mother, misled investigators for eight years about his whereabouts, Houston police said Thursday.

The announcement follows a week-long saga surrounding the discovery of Farias outside of a southeast Houston church. While Farias’ mother, Janie Santana, lauded the purported discovery of her son last week after years of uncertainty, investigators have since concluded Farias was not missing.

Houston police said Farias and Santana had multiple contacts with “various police officers” over the years, repeatedly providing them fictitious names that misled authorities. Prosecutors have not filed any charges against Farias or Santana for making false statements to police, though charges could later be filed.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said investigators continue to review the case and gather new evidence following an interview with Farias on Wednesday. 

Finner said he’s “not going to say whether (Farias) is a victim or not.” Houston activist Quanell X claimed Wednesday that he was in the room with Farias and police when Farias reported that his mother had drugged and sexually abused him. But police investigators noted that they have not received reports of Santana sexually abusing Farias, including from Farias himself. 

Investigators said Farias “is with his mother by choice” at this time.

“We’re going to treat this as we do with any victim or potential victim, and we’re going to give respect to everybody that’s involved,” Finner said.

Farias was 17 when his family reported him missing in 2015. His mother told investigators that Farias went for a walk with two dogs outside of their home in northeast Houston and never returned. The dogs were later found.

Houston authorities said they located Farias on June 29 outside a southeast Houston church while following up on a call about a person sleeping outside the building. 

In the days after his discovery, Farias’ mother claimed that her son was nonverbal, while Houston police said they hadn’t spoken to him yet.

Multiple media reports subsequently emerged suggesting that Farias had been living close to his family’s home and interacting with neighbors, leading to speculation about whether Farias’ mother falsely reported him as missing.

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Jacob Carpenter is a team leader for the Houston Landing, helping to guide news coverage and oversee reporters. Jacob has reported for multiple newsrooms over the years, most recently as a freelance newsletter...