Family launches frantic search for Houston veteran who vanished during trip to Mexico City

Alex Bozarjian Image
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Family is frantic after Houston man vanished during trip to Mexico
A Houston Air Force veteran is believed to be missing after his mom says he had plans to travel to Mexico City last week.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston Air Force veteran is believed to be missing after his mom says he had plans to travel to Mexico City last week. She says he was set to return on Sunday, but she has not communicated with him since before he left for the trip.

The U.S. State Department simply tells us they are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in Mexico City. According to his mother, John Gamboa was only supposed to be gone for the weekend. Now she says she fears for his life, and she's frantically trying to find him.

"Honestly, I am not sure if he's alive," Fermina Gamboa said.

Fermina says the last time she spoke to her son John was the morning of Feb. 16. He told her he was leaving for Mexico City later that day.

"His plans to go to Mexico City to get his belongings because when he worked there- he was home-based there last year," she said.

Since then, John has been living in Houston with his mother.

Honestly, I am not sure if he's alive.
Fermina Gamboa, mother of missing man

Fermina says she doesn't know if John ever made it to Mexico City because he never reached out. John has acquaintances but no family in Mexico.

Here is her timeline of what she said followed.

On Saturday morning, Fermina received a notification from USAA Bank that someone was trying to access John's account. On Sunday, he was set to return home at 7 p.m.

"He didn't arrive," she said. "Maybe he missed the flight? Or he didn't get a flight."

On Monday, Fermina got a call from John's employer, who said he never logged on for work.

A missing person's flyer emerged online, accompanied by a detailed timeline of John's movements, which Fermina was unaware of.

ABC13 couldn't verify any of the information on the website nor know where it came from.

Fermina says friends of John's claim to be in touch with authorities but would not give her specifics.

Given the withdrawal attempts, she now fears someone may have John and is after money.

"I don't care; I just need my son to be back. Money can be replaced, but the life of my son cannot," Fermina said.

According to Fermina, John served in the Air Force. The family is from the Philippines.

She's trying to get in touch with the proper state and government agencies but feels like she's getting the runaround.

"It makes me more upset because he risked his life to serve this country for five years," Fermina said.

ABC13 contacted the FBI and the Mexican consulate and connected Fermina with direct contacts. Eyewitness News also called the number on the missing person's flier, but that person was hesitant to give us any information.

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