Brownsville mother continues searching for son missing in Mexico since 2017

2 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, March 28 2023 Mar 28, 2023 March 28, 2023 11:02 AM March 28, 2023 in News - Local

The mother of a Brownsville man who has been missing in Mexico since 2017 continues searching for him.

The mother, who asked to be referred simply as “Jeannette” to protect her identity, is part of a group of Valley women whose sons are all missing in Mexico.

Jeanette said she wants her son’s case to be prioritized as much as that of the four Americans kidnapped in Matamoros on March 3.

“It's been years and they never gave that importance or that same attention, and it's painful,” Jeannette said. “It's sad, it's very unfortunate because they haven't been represented."

Jeannette last saw her son — Ernesto Garnica Jr. — on his birthday on Aug. 30, 2017.

She said he went to Matamoros to celebrate with friends.

“If I only knew it was going to be the last time I was going to hug him, I would have never let him go,” Jeannette said.

One of Ernesto's friends called Jeanette the next morning to say he didn't come back home. Her calls to him went straight to voicemail, and then stopped going through.

“The instinct of a mom knows that something is wrong, but there's hope to make you think that or believe that his phone died; that something happened but he'll come back,” Jeannette said.

Jeannette went to Matamoros to look for him and reported him missing to Mexican authorities and Brownsville police the day after his birthday.

On Sept. 1, 2017, Mexican authorities found his burnt car at a ranch in between Matamoros and Rio Bravo with a body inside of it.

A DNA test determined that the body was not Ernesto. Jeannette said the person has yet to be identified.

Shortly afterward, Ernesto’s bank account was emptied. She believes he was kidnapped.

Brownsville police spokesman Martin Sandoval said Ernesto’s case is classified as a missing person as there is no evidence telling them otherwise.

Sandoval says the case now lies in the hands of the FBI and the Mexican authorities. Sandoval said the FBI doesn’t have any evidence that Ernesto is dead or alive.

Jeannette says she remains hopeful she’ll be reunited with her son.

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