U.S. Mother Searching for Son Lost in Mexico
REYNOSA, TAMAULIPAS - A search unlike any seen before is scheduled to start soon for missing people in Mexico.
A U.S. mother whose American son disappeared there says she plans to be there.
July 29th will mark two years since a Houston born man went missing.
The search for missing people in Tamaulipas is scheduled to start in Reynosa three days after that.
Organizers hope it helps bring closure to families like his.
Roberto Franco Jr. or 'Robertito' as his mom, Lisa Torres Franco, used to call him went missing July 29, 2017.
Franco had a new job waiting for him on Monday.
Before that started, he and his friend went on their first trip without their parents to Mexico.
He is a U.S. citizen with family in Nuevo Leon.
Before he left, he told his mom, "I'll see you soon mom" and gave her a hug.
Two years later, that embrace is all his mom has left.
He went missing shortly after calling his dad around noon.
They had just crossed the Los Indios Bridge and were on their way to their destination; hours passed.
"My husband was with one of his brothers and his brother said, it's taking too long for him to call. And, my husband decided to call, then nothing."
Torres and her husband put up pictures of him.
A day later, they received a call. "We have your son," the voice claimed.
Lisa Torres Franco said they wanted what's called a 'rescate', or ransom.
They paid $3,000 and waited at the location where they were told their son would be released.
He never showed up; like her son, she felt lost, too.
"You don't know where to turn. You don't know who to talk to. How do you prepare for something like this happening?"
Time passed and reports were filed with the local Texas police, the FBI, U.S. Consulate, and in Reynosa.
The only thing they found were messages posted online by someone who had their son's phone.
His parents knew those messages were not sent by their son.
According to the geo-location stamps, the phone was still in Mexico and active through December 2017.
As the two year anniversary of his disappearance draws near, Torres Franco says it's her faith that keeps her standing.
"I always speak life into my son. I declare and I decree it. And, I have faith that he's going to come home."
She's joined a group of people with lost relatives in Mexico and plans to join the search at a suspected mass grave site in Reynosa.
She doesn't believe her son will be there.
It'll be an act of solidarity with mothers like her.
She feels compelled to stand with them.
"I feel I have to do something to help someone else," she says.
The search is scheduled to start Aug. 1 though the 2nd.
It'll take place in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.
The group Jusiticia Tamaulipas is organizing the search with state and federal security.
Families interested in participating in the upcoming search can contact the Tamaulipas agency, Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda de Personas, by dialing 1-800-BUSQUEDA or 834-688-5075.