HARLINGEN – Those involved with the case of missing Nahomi Rodriguez are hoping a $5,000 reward could help law enforcement find out what happened to her.
The 19-year-old has been missing since July 17 after she left her night shift at the McDonald’s located at 602 N. 77 Sunshine Strip. She appeared to leave in an SUV with a man she knew after she told her mother she had a ride home. She never made it.
Since then, along with extensive efforts by local, state and national law enforcement, billboards with her picture were put up in around the area in mid-August.
Now, thanks to a group of friends who wish to remain anonymous, there is a $5,000 reward being offered until Oct. 1, for information leading to finding Rodriguez and the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for her disappearance.
“Our family continues to pray and we’re still holding on to our faith,” said Nahomi’s aunt, Enedina Sanchez. “This information makes us extremely happy to hear that our communities are uniting more than ever, which reflects our warm Hispanic culture.”
Family members met with the FBI and local law enforcement on Monday to further talk about the status of the case.
They continue to do all they can to locate the lifelong San Benito resident who was last seen on July 17 at 1:30 a.m. Investigators are working diligently with local, state, and federal agencies following leads all over the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico regarding this case.
Although there have been leads according to Sanchez, none has led to any findings of significance.
“There is good in this world,” she said. “We cannot let criminals define who we are. We must embrace the good to defeat the evil.”
Earlier this month, police released on social media a 14-second video showing Nahomi serving at the drive-through the person police believe she later left the McDonald’s with.
The video shows Rodriguez at the drive-through window of the fast food restaurant filling a cup with soda.
She leans over and looks out the window and it appears she knows the driver because moments later they share a fist bump.
Police investigators also are conducting follow-up interviews and talking to possible witnesses in an effort to find new information.
An electronic billboard located on the frontage road next to Harlingen Medical Center has been activated in an effort to find Nahomi.
At about 12:30 a.m., Nahomi’s family reported she told her mother, with whom she lives, that she had found a ride home.
Although her mother waited, she never made it.
Initial reports stated she left in a dark truck or SUV with two men. But later, that appeared to not be the case. Instead, she appeared to have left in a light gray newer model light over dark Ford Escape, with a man she knew. That, all according to the video surveillance at McDonald’s.
“The suspect made a fist-punch with my niece as soon as he approached the drive-through window,” Sanchez said. “Therefore, he knows my niece.” The two had a conversation at the window, but it was what the family saw in the video that was disturbing.
“We are able to see this ‘man,’ not a teenager, wearing a white cap with a black T-shirt and his left arm is fully seen and he seems to be a big man,” Sanchez stated.
The video shows Nahomi waiting by the front door for her ride to arrive around 1:30 a.m. and steps out of the restaurant.
Other video views in the parking lot show the same Ford Escape arriving and parking where the camera didn’t reach.
The video then shows the vehicle reverse and drive off on Washington Avenue, passing by St. Paul’s Church, Sanchez states.
If you or anyone you know has information about the July 17 disappearance of Nahomi Rodriguez of San Benito, contact law enforcement. You could receive a reward. If anyone believes they may have information about her disappearance or the vehicle, contact: Harlingen Police Department Investigator Palafox at 956-873-0380, or the Crimestoppers line at 956-425-8477.
Callers may remain anonymous.