Family of missing Houston woman pleads for her return

A Houston family pleading for help to bring their loved one home. This Friday marks one year since Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez was last heard from.

Maria was 29-years-old when she disappeared and a single mother to her daughter Destiny.

“I’ve promised the baby that I’m going to bring her mom home,” said Gloria Jimenez, Maria’s sister.

Gloria says the 4-year-old asks her every day when her mother is coming back.

“She asks me that -- we have a whole bunch of fliers and [she says] let’s go out and give the fliers out,” Gloria added.

On June 21, 2018, Maria dropped Destiny off with the babysitter and then was supposed to head to work. Maria was a paralegal at the Milledge Law Firm.

“This is her office and everything still remains that same, her daughter’s picture there,” said co-worker Brenda Lopez, pointing to Destiny’s picture and drawings on the wall.

Brenda says Maria was always in around 8 a.m. or earlier. The day Maria disappeared, Brenda got a text message from Maria’s phone at 8:57 a.m. that read, “Good morning I am running late stuck in traffic.”

Then 10:12 a.m., Brenda got another text message. This one read, “Hey had to turn back around the nanny asked me to take Destiny because she’s not acting right.”

Brenda recalls that at that point she became concerned for Destiny’s health. She tried calling and texting Maria back but never heard back until she got the final text message at 6:18 p.m. The message read, “Sorry I’m ok and Des is fine but this red truck with two white boys or Hispanics seem like they been following me call you from a safe place.”

“It just didn’t seem like her,” added Brenda. “I don’t think she would just send me a lengthy text message. I think if something was going on and her life was in danger she was smart enough, she would have called the police.”

Brenda and Gloria both say Maria never referred to Destiny as “Des” and her text messages always included words in Spanish and English.

The next day, Maria’s truck was found just blocks from her house in Northeast Houston on Texarkana Street. Her purse, phone and keys were missing but, otherwise, the truck was fine, according to Gloria.

Gloria believes Maria never left the area.

Texas Equusearch looked for Maria for days. The Houston Police Department’s homicide detectives continue to work the case.

“I don’t know I feel like the earth just swallowed her and no one knows anything,” Brenda said tearfully.

“We need our sister back home. It’s been a heartbreaking year and we need this nightmare to end,” Gloria concluded.

On Saturday at 7 p.m., Maria’s family will host a vigil at 6919 Texarkana Street.

If you know anything, contact the Houston Police Department or Crime stoppers of Houston.