HOUSTON - One of the organizations hit hard in the pandemic is Texas Equusearch, a nonprofit that works with law enforcement to find the missing.
In one of their most recent projects, Texas Equusearch has been spearheading the search for Erica Hernandez, a mother of three who hasn’t been seen in nearly three weeks. But they run entirely on donations, and that funding has dried up in the pandemic.
"The calls went up between suicides and some Homicides," said Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller. "The nonprofit is staying busy as ever, handling more searches than usual that turned out to be suicides since the pandemic began."
But one thing that has slowed is their funding. They don’t accept donations from the families they help, and as a nonprofit, they get no government funding.
"The pandemic has killed Equusearch financially," said Miller. "I mean we couldn’t have any fundraisers last year. The oil business is down. We have a lot of supporters in the oil business."
Miller says they’ve helped find the missing in 42 states and 11 countries., working big cases like the disappearance of 4-year-old Maleah Davis. Just Friday they got a hopeful break in the case of some murdered Oklahoma teens, all while collaborate daily with detectives in the search for missing Houston mom Erica Hernandez.
"The pandemic did not slow our calls down by no means," said Miller. "In fact they got higher than they were."
"I hope that the economy can get back to where it was so that they can help, because I’m glad that we have the support that we do, but I feel bad for the other people who don’t have this help," said Ashley Hernandez, sister of missing woman Erica Hernandez.
Ashley spent Friday making shirts for a big search she’s organizing Saturday which will mark three weeks since the mother of three went missing.
She’s hoping Equusearch can continue getting answers in her sister’s case, as they use sonar to scan each body of water in the area she went missing.
"I’m glad that they’re out there because they’re not asking for us to pay anything, so I’m glad that there’s an organization like that," said Hernandez. "And they’re not out there for the media either, so I like that. That’s something big."To donate to Texas Equusearch, you can go to their website.
You can also donate by mail:
P.O. Box 395
And Erica Hernandez’s sister Ashley is inviting all members of the public to help search for Erica on Saturday. She’s asking people to meet her at 11 a.m. at Foodarama on South Post Oak and the Beltway. She’ll be selling T-shirts to help support Erica’s kids who are going on without their mom at this time.