HARLINGEN — Nahomi Rodriguez’s family was surprised at the generous reward being offered to find her killer.
It has been a hard and grueling time for the family.
However, they persist and still hold out hope the teen’s killer will be found and brought to justice.
Yesterday, after the Harlingen Police Department announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who killed Nahomi, her aunt, Enedina Sanchez, made an emotional plea.
When she spoke about her niece’s murder, the room was silent.
Since Nahomi’s disappearance last July, Sanchez has been the person representing the family.
Visibly strong, Sanchez begged the public for help.
“When you see Nahomi’s face, this could have been your daughter, your baby sister, your neighbor, your niece — don’t let this happen again,” she pleaded.
“We can stop that by having a testimony of victory. I’m pleading and begging for someone to say something. Even if it was a dollar rewarded to you, let it touch your heart.”
Nahomi Rodriguez disappeared last summer from the McDonald’s on Morgan Boulevard. For months, there was nothing but dead-end leads as family members searched for the local girl.
Then, last month, the 19-year-old San Benito woman’s remains were discovered in a ditch east of Rio Hondo.
Yesterday, Harlingen Police Chief Jeffry Adickes said a number of agencies contributed money so the reward can be offered for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Nahomi’s death.
Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz said money talks.
“I am happy to contribute money on behalf of the Cameron County district attorney’s office,” Saenz said. “Make that one call we are hoping for, praying for. We know it is going to come.”
All of the law enforcement agencies agree they are not going to stop the investigation until the suspect is captured.
“We are not going to stop until you (the suspect) are brought to justice. One day we will have one more news conference … one day we’ll stand here and say we got him,” Saenz said.
The reward money is being contributed by the Harlingen Police Department, Cameron County district attorney’s office, San Benito Police Department and Harlingen Area Crime Stoppers.
Since her disappearance, all of those agencies have worked together. The unity is ever apparent to Nahomi’s family.
“This has been a timeline hasn’t it? It will have an end, I can guarantee you that. I have seen the work law enforcement has brought together as a team,” Sanchez said.
“No matter from what city or police department they represent, I have seen the unity.”
Despite such tragedy, the family remains steadfast along with law enforcement in their mission to catch the person responsible.
“I just want to let that person know that if you saw something or witnessed something, even if it was the most minor thing back then in July, it could mean a huge difference for us,” Sanchez said.
“Nahomi was our family, our baby and this baby was taken away from us. These people must be brought to justice.”
$25,000 reward Who’s giving?
$10,000 – The Harlingen Police Department
$5,000 – Cameron County DA Luis Saenz’s Office
$5,000 – San Benito Police Department
$4,000 – Anonymous local donor
$1,000 – Harlingen Area Crime Stoppers
Do You Know Anything?
For now, the Harlingen Police Department is seeking the public’s help. Anyone who might remember something, or who has current information pertaining to the case, is encouraged to call authorities at 956-425-8477.
What’s next in investigation?
When Nahomi’s remains were found in a remote area on the outskirts of Rio Hondo last month, she was quickly identified by dental records and her remains were sent to the state for further examination.
However, it will take much longer to determine the cause of her death.
Harlingen Police Commander Dave Osborne said it could take at least six months or more to receive information back from the state.
Basically, the Harlingen Police Department has to wait in a long line of cases from around the state.
“They’re backed up,” Osborne said. “Unfortunately, we are not the only ones who need their help.”
The fact that reward money is available should generate some good feedback for the investigation.
“We’ve already had a lot of tips come in and investigators canvassing scenes since the discovery of her body,” Osborne said. “We are doing a ton of the behind-the-scenes work that we can’t discuss publicly because it’s part of the investigation.”