'I was brainwashed:' Rudy Farias speaks out on fabricating disappearance for 8 years

Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Rudy Farias talks with ABC13 about going along with mom's missing person story
Eyewitness News is speaking with the man who was reported missing as a 17-year-old. In his own words, he tells ABC13 about going along with the deception that he says his mother put him up to.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time, Rudy Farias, the young man who police say went along with his mother's lies about being missing for eight years, spoke about why he obliged.

Farias said that for eight long years, his mother would brainwash him, convincing him that he'd get in trouble if he didn't go along with her nearly decade-long lie.

"She never locked me in or handcuffed me or anything like that," Farias said. "I had free will to leave. It just felt like brainwashing me. It just kept confusing me, the way she would manipulate me into saying, 'You're going to get arrested.'"

In 2015, Farias was reported missing when he was 17 years old after his mother, Janie Santana, told police her son never returned home from a walk. Eight years later, Farias was found outside of a church on June 29. According to Houston police investigators, Farias returned the day after he went missing, and the two have been deceiving police and the community ever since.

Houston police made sure to point out that Farias was an adult at the time. He says he may have been an adult, but felt he had to listen to his mother, the only family he felt he really had or could trust.

"She locked me in there pretty much, mentally," Farias said. "She was my only parent, the only person I really ever had besides my brother. When I lost my brother, I didn't have anyone to teach me how to live, or to have confidence or trust in myself. So I depended on my mom all my life."

Farias' father was an officer with the Houston Police Department but took his own life in 2014. However, they never had a close relationship, and Farias' half-brother took on the role of the father figure. In 2011, his half-brother died in a motorcycle accident. His death took a toll on both Farias and his mother.

"After he passed away, I wasn't able to love myself for anything anymore," Farias said. "I wasn't able to have someone like a father figure. You know, he was my brother, but I never had a dad."

During the eight years, Farias said he rarely left home, other than to go to work with his mom. He said an officer once pulled him over while driving his mother's car but said he used a fake name. According to Farias, he was kept in isolation, even when family members came over.

"I would have to listen to my family be happy and cheerful on the other side of a door, and I would be like, 'I want my family. I want people. I just want communication,'" Farias said. "It's like I lived in prison. It's like I lived in a jail my whole life. I just wanted to be free. I wanted to have my own job. I just wanted to live my life. I just wanted to love somebody, have someone else that would actually love me. I struggled to understand my emotions."

Activist Quannel X made serious allegations last week, saying Farias told him and detectives that his mother sexually assaulted him. Farias says his words got twisted. He said while mother-son boundaries were crossed, he was not sexually assaulted.

"I used to have to sleep in her bed sometimes," Farias said. "Boundaries she would push or make me uncomfortable, and I would say 'Stop,' and she would say, 'Why? Why? Why? I didn't do anything wrong.'"

ABC13 reached back out to Quanell X, who said that based on the information and details of his conversation with Farias, he considers what he told him to be sexual assault.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office has declined charges and asked for further investigation. HPD Chief Troy Finner said police are finishing their investigation and would not say whether they believe Farias is a victim.

When ABC13's Brooke Taylor asked Farias if he considers himself a victim, he said, "Yes, heavily."

"I just want to live my life. I want to have a family, a car, a house. I just want to live my life and be happy," he said.

Farias is no longer staying at his mother's home and has expressed not wanting any contact with her.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.