BROWNSVILLE — Ivon Rodarte misses her brother’s smile and his laugh.
She hasn’t seen Ramiro “Kimberly” Avila since he disappeared early in the morning on May 12 of last year in downtown Brownsville.
He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“I miss all of him,” she said via text message Wednesday afternoon.
The Brownsville Police Department has been investigating the disappearance.
When Avila initially went missing, his family, along with help from the South Texas Equality Project, or STEP, set up a fund to offer a $1,000 reward for any information leading to Avila’s whereabouts.
That reward has increased.
Oscar Lopez, STEP’s board president, said the reward is now close to $3,000.
“More money needs to be raised,” Lopez said. “We are convinced as an LGBT community that if the price is right, someone will sell out their friend, brother, someone.”
Lopez, who is director of education for the Valley AIDS Council, said since he’s unable to speak with Avila, he doesn’t know whether Avila, who goes by Kimberly, is transgender or is a cross-dresser.
He said he does know that Avila liked to hang out with friends in downtown Brownsville and believes that someone in the downtown area may have information about where Avila is or whether something happened to Avila.
The Brownsville Police Department can’t comment on open investigations, but Brownsville PD Spokesman J.J. Trevino said authorities had no new information to provide.
Trevino said detectives are still actively working the case, which grows more difficult as each day Avila is missing passes.
“The more time that goes by the harder it is, because obviously leads go cold,” Trevino said. “But it’s not impossible. Anything can happen. Someone can call in, give us a lead and help us out.”