Police: Search for missing 6-year-old transitions to death investigation

6-year-old Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez was last seen in November 2022. Police have transitioned his...
6-year-old Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez was last seen in November 2022. Police have transitioned his disappearance investigation into a death investigation.(Texas Department of Public Safety)
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(Gray News) - Police in Texas are transitioning the search for a missing 6-year-old child into a death investigation.

The Everman Police Department says 6-year-old Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez was last seen in November 2022.

According to a department press release, evidence collected in the investigation has led police to believe the child’s death is a homicide. The department says the next steps of the investigation will include identifying potential locations for Noel’s remains and conducting a recovery operation.

In a news conference Thursday, Everman police revealed a timeline of events connected to Noel’s disappearance.

Police say Noel was last seen on July 21, 2022 by a speech therapy professional. Several other doctor appointments were missed during this time, which led Noel’s mother, Cindy, to receive letters from the state department in order to continue receiving government benefits for Noel.

Investigators learned that Cindy had asked to use a friend’s son to pose as Noel at a doctor’s appointment so that she could keep her benefits, stating that Noel had COVID-19.

Investigators were able to confirm that Noel was alive in early October when Cindy gave birth to twins. The department says Noel was seen again in mid-October after they left the hospital. The child was reportedly described as appearing “unhealthy” and “malnourished.”

Witnesses told police that leading up to the birth of the twins, Cindy had made several statements about Noel referring to him as “evil,” “possessed” or having a “demon” in him. Witnesses say Cindy also believed Noel was going to harm the newborn twins.

Police say Cindy also was known by relatives to be abusive and neglectful to Noel. One relative told police they witnessed Cindy strike Noel in the face with keys for drinking water. Witnesses additionally told police that food and water were often withheld from Noel because Cindy “did not like changing Noel’s dirty diapers.”

On November 1, police say Cindy obtained passport photographs for all of the children living with her, except for Noel. the next day, Cindy applied for passports for the children, except for Noel.

During the investigation, police say witnesses heard Cindy tell various stories to explain Noel’s disappearance. She claimed Noel was with his biological father in Mexico, with his aunt in Mexico, or she sold him to another woman in a Fiesta Market parking lot.

Investigators say they have disproved these stories and there is no evidence that Noel was sold or trafficked.

Police say they are now wanting Cindy to be extradited from India, where she fled shortly after the investigation began.

The Everman Police Department says although the course of the investigation into Noel’s disappearance has changed, the department’s commitment to the child has not wavered and the agencies will “continue to fight for Noel.”

The city of Everman will hold a candlelit vigil Monday for Noel outside the Everman Civic Center at 8:30 p.m.