NOTE: The following article contains disturbing content. Please read at your own discretion.
At a press conference on Thursday, representatives from the Houston Police Department responded to reporter questions about Farias. They said Farias returned to his mother’s home one day after he went “missing” in 2015, and has been there ever since.
The press conference was held amid growing confusion surrounding the case. The day prior, Quanell X, a local activist, said he spoke with Farias separately and claimed he was “severely abused” and drugged by his mother, who had hidden him in her home.
Police in Houston have disputed some of these claims and say their investigation is still ongoing. At no point did police corroborate or support X’s account of events or the results of the interview.
Farias, who was 17 years old when he was reported missing, was found last week, lying in front of a church in southeast Houston, where he was wounded and unresponsive. At the time, Farias’s mother told reporters her son was nonverbal.
X told reporters on Wednesday that he and a police detective spoke to Farias alone without his mother.
“I heard horrific things from that young man,” X said of his conversation with Farias, now 25. He said Farias was “mentally tortured” and made to live in a “house of hell.”
X told reporters Farias had for years been physically and sexually abused by his mother, Janie Santana, who also forced Farias to take hallucinogenic drugs. He said Farias’s body is covered in scars and “slice wounds from his forearms to his wrists.”
“No child should be treated like that by his own mother,” X said, as he became visibly emotional.
In stark contrast, during the press conference Thursday, Houston police said Farias made no reports of sexual assault or drugging. They claimed Farias was safe and currently with his mother by choice.
No charges have been laid in the case. However, police said Farias and his mother could face Class C misdemeanour charges, similar to a traffic violation, for previously providing fake names and information to Houston police.
Police said they would release more information publicly as the investigation continued.
X claimed when Farias returned to his mother’s house after his disappearance in 2015, Santana convinced Farias that he needed to hide, or he would be arrested by the police for running away.
When investigators and police would come to the house, X said Farias would hide out of sight.
When asked why Farias had run away in the first place, X repeatedly claimed Farias was “tired” of his mother “not respecting his boundaries.”
X claimed Santana often made Farias sleep naked in bed with her. In fear, he said Farias would occasionally hide under the bed.
“She made him play daddy,” X said with tears in his eyes. “She told him he had to be her husband.”
When asked directly if there was sexual abuse in this case, X did not provide details but alleged the mother often made her son kiss her with tongue. He also said Santana would watch Farias shower and have him bathe her body as well.
X told reporters Farias would require “extensive professional help” to manage the trauma caused by his mother.
“I ain’t never in my life heard of a mother doing to a child what this woman did,” X said.
He said he cried while Farias told his story. He said Farias would not speak while his mother was in the room.
Before Farias was found in front of the church last week, X claimed he’d stolen his mother’s car and was involved in an accident. X alleged Farias was carrying a credit card in his mother’s name. He said Santana gave Farias the card so he could “buy her things.”
X claimed Santana, while hiding Farias in her home, collected money for her son’s search efforts over eight years. When the police were asked what motivations the mother could possibly have to keep her son hidden for 8 years, they did not provide an answer and said instead that the investigation is “ongoing.”
Mystery continues to cloud the case of Farias’s alleged disappearance. When he was found, many of Santana’s neighbours told news outlets they had no idea he was a missing person. Farias was allegedly allowed to see certain neighbours while using the “assumed name” Dolph, instead of Rudy.
Farias’s aunt told reporters she hadn’t seen Farias since the day he went “missing” in 2015. Sylvia Lopez said she’s travelled out of state with Santana to look for her son after reports emerged that someone resembling Farias had been spotted in California.
X said Farias repeatedly pleaded that he did not want his mother to be in trouble or go to jail.
“This young boy was not kidnapped by some stranger,” he said.
X said the police failed Farias in their search attempts. He claimed Houston police never obtained a search warrant for Santana’s home.
“I was shocked that they had not done more,” X chided. “There ain’t no way in hell that woman shouldn’t be locked up immediately, and that boy needs to go to the best rehab and best psychological mental health facility that we can find for him.”
“This is sick,” he concluded. “I don’t know why she’s not in handcuffs right now.”
ED. NOTE: A previous version of this story identified Quanell X as the leader of Houston’s New Black Panther Nation. He was ousted from this role in 2018 after several lawsuits accused X of stealing money from community members. Global News has amended the article.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.