New lead: Missing 19-year-old may have left with older man

HARLINGEN – The story is becoming stranger and more disturbing.

Days after 19-year-old Nahomi Rodriguez of San Benito never returned home following her shift at the Harlingen McDonald’s, there’s new information.

According to her family, there are more details regarding the person she left with that night, who was apparently supposed to drive her home.

There also may be other new information that has not yet been revealed.

Late last night, Harlingen police were still interviewing Daniel Quiroz, who they say is a possible witness in the case.

The lifelong San Benito resident was last seen just after 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Nahomi was leaving her job after her shift at McDonald’s located at 602 N. 77 Sunshine Strip in Harlingen.

Although initial reports stated she left in a dark truck or SUV with two men, it appears that was not the case.

On Wednesday, the family was called in to view the surveillance video from the McDonald’s and look at the suspect who now appears to have been in a light gray newer model Ford Escape.

But that’s not all that has changed.

In an email from Nahomi’s aunt sent yesterday, it appears Nahomi knew the person she left with.

“The suspect made a fist-punch with my niece as soon as he approached the drive through window,” Enedina Sanchez said. “Therefore he knows my niece.”

Sanchez continued, stating the two had a short conversation at the window.

But it was what the family was seeing on the video that was disturbing.

“We are able to see this ‘man,’ not a teenager is wearing a white cap with a black shirt and his left arm is fully seen and he seems to be a big man,” she stated.

Enedina said he appeared to have “a lot of hair on his arm,” but they cannot see his face.

“I’m terrified,” Sanchez stated in an email. “This is no teenager-friend of my niece. He is an older man, just by looking at his arm.”

The video shows Nahomi waiting by the front door for her ride to arrive around 1:30 and steps out of the restaurant.

Other video views in the parking lot show the same Ford Escape arriving and parking where the camera can’t reach.

The video then shows the vehicle reverse and drive off on Washington Avenue passing by St. Paul’s Church, Sanchez stated.

The license plates were not visible on any of the video.

On Tuesday, Nahomi’s family said at about 12:30 a.m., Nahomi apparently called her mother, with whom she lives, and told her she had a ride home. Her mother waited, but she never arrived.

Nahomi’s boyfriend said he received a message form her on Facebook at about that same time that stated she was already home, on the couch and making some food.

Although it is unclear what happened after 1:30 a.m., which is the typical time she gets off her shift, one thing is clear.

“There is no chance she ran off,” Sanchez said Tuesday.

There were no problems at home, Sanchez reiterated.

Sanchez said she is trying to be realistic, but is having a difficult time, knowing the strange circumstances and the danger Nahomi appears to be in.

Sanchez explained this is not at all like Nahomi to disappear without contacting her family.

Nahomi doesn’t have a phone with her, but does have a small yellow purse and would likely still be wearing her McDonald’s uniform.