Houston man vanishes after crossing US/Mexico border, loved ones still pleading for answers 5 years later

FOX 26 is continuing to shine a light on the thousands of missing people from the Greater Houston area. 

In the Summer of 2017Lisa Torres answered a call while she was in Mexico desperately searching for her 21-year-old son Roberto Franco; the person on the other line claimed they'd taken him, and that if she paid, he'd be returned safely. 

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"He said that he was the jefe of the plaza, the boss of the plaza," Torres recalled. 

Torres and her husband wired that person $5,000 for the release of Roberto and the friend he was traveling with, but her son never showed up. 

"My husband says I'm going to pay, because what if it's real? He said I'm not going to have that on my conscience if I don't pay, and it really is him," Torres explained. 

Roberto left his Houston home on the morning of Friday, July 29, 2017. Torres says she was away on vacation and had no clue that he and his friend were driving to Agualeguas, Mexico to visit family for the weekend, but her husband was aware. Roberto was set to start a new job that Monday, so it was meant to be a quick trip. 

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Torres called her husband to check in that Friday night, and that's when he told her that Roberto never made it to his destination. She and her husband got their family involved and traveled to Mexico and find him.

"A lot of people started calling his phone our family members and someone would answer, but they would never say hello or speak they would just listen," Torres said. 

She says they had no luck getting help from the Mexican authorities. The FBI confirmed that her son and his friend crossed the border in Los Indios border, but there was no sign of either of them after that. 

"Authorities here say he was, it sounded like at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Torres. 


She also says those same authorities say he may have also been with the wrong person. Five years have now passed, and Torres still has no idea what happened to her son, but she hasn't given up hope. 

"I've always felt him to be alive; he's out there, I just have to find the right person that's going to help me find him," she said. 

Torres says she feels Roberto is being held against his will and forced to work for bad people in Mexico. 

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She reminisced on the last phone conversation they had the night before his road trip, and now she lives every day hoping that wasn't the last time that she'd ever hear her son's voice. 

"I've had to learn how to survive, I Iive one day at a time, I don't look into the future," she said. 

This mother hopes that someone will see this story and provide some sort of information that will lead to answers about her son's disappearance.

Anyone with information should contact Houston police at (713) 884-3131 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 521-4600.

You can also follow this link for a look at an official record of Long-term Missing persons throughout the State of Texas.