Judge dismisses missing attorney’s protective order

Harlingen attorney Ernesto Gonzales has still not shown up to court for his protective order hearing.

This morning, retired Judge Robert Garza made the decision to abate the case, or dismiss it until Gonzales is found.

“What happens here is that we can’t do anything about the protective order. We have to have the hearing in a certain amount of time,” Garza said. “Basically, I put it aside. There is no protective order. We’ll just wait and see whether he shows up or not. I’m not going to have the family come in every 30 days.”

Gonzales went missing on July 18, five days after filing for a protective order against his extended family.

In an affidavit, Gonzales said he had to carry a hidden unloaded pistol in his truck because he feared for his life.

According to the affidavit, Gonzales had a confrontation with some family members on June 21, the day he learned his mother suffered two “mini strokes.” He called a doctor and was advised to call EMS.

“My siblings kept yelling at me that our mother was not going to be taken to the hospital,” he said in the affidavit.

Gonzales’ sister, Mary Ann Vilafana, previously said she was concerned about his well-being prior to his disappearance. She said he was acting “out of the ordinary.”

“We were trying to get help for him,” she said. “And all we want to do now is find my brother, because we love him.”

The family said they believed Gonzales is alive.