HOUSTON - "It's horrible when you're driving down the street, and you see trash bags, and you're wondering is her body in there, is she in that bayou; and when I hear news reports they found a corpse or a head. It's just a standstill waiting to see if they're going to call me."
Those gut-wrenching words from Ofelia Gomez, the mother of 38-year-old Jennifer Sanchez.
On the night of September 7, 2018, Jennifer left her apartment near Martin Street and Shepherd Drive on Houston's north side; her teenage son, who was living with her, asked where she was going.
"She said I'll be back, and he said mom where are you going so late? And she just said I'll be back," Gomez recalled.
Gomez says surveillance video later revealed that she left with her estranged husband, Joey Sanchez, a man the family claims was known to be physically abusive toward her, and who she had recently filed a restraining order against.
"I don't know why she left; she was scared of him; I don't know if he threatened her or threatened to go in the house," said Gomez.
Jennifer never returned home, she never showed up for work, a job she depended on to help her six sons from a previous marriage. Her family went to the police to file a missing person report and officers accompanied them to the home of Joey Sanchez's mother for a welfare check. Gomez says his mother refused to talk to them and that the investigating Sergeant wasn't optimistic about Jennifer's well-being.
"He said Mrs. Gomez, it doesn't look good. I checked his background. It doesn't look good; he goes, he's a horrible man," Gomez explained.
Days later, Gomez received a call from detectives saying her daughter's missing person case was now a homicide investigation, and the evidence that brought them to that conclusion was beyond disturbing.
"They got pictures of him leaving Home Depot with trash bags. They said you can tell he ripped off the inside of his car, and used bleach, and they found particles and blood and things with Jennifer's DNA, he had also repaired his windshield," Gomez said.
And at one point during the investigation, she says Joey Sanchez actually had the nerve to call her.
"He called me on my cell phone, and he said Mrs. Gomez, I'm sorry for Jennifer and hung up, that's all he told me," she recalled.
Even though Jennifer's body hasn't been found, police had enough evidence to charge Joey Sanchez with her murder, which he's still waiting to stand trial for.
"We don't have a body. He doesn't tell us where the body is, he doesn't tell us what he did with her," said Gomez.
The last time she spoke with her daughter, Jennifer was excited that two of her sons were expecting baby girls, something she'd always wanted.
Now, this mother not only wants closure for herself and her family, but she also wants other women who hear this story to take heed.
"That's no way to live, that's not normal to live like that; my daughter went through it, and look where I'm sitting, she's not here any longer, she's not here," Gomez said.
You can click here for a look at an official record of Long-term Missing persons throughout the state of Texas.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources available to help you, click here for details.