Texas Man Disappeared On A Trip To Mexico

Roberto Franco Jr.
Facebook | Texas DPS Missing Persons Bulletin

News & Politics
Jessica Powers

Roberto Franco Jr., or 'Robertito' as his mom, Lisa Torres Franco, used to call him, had a new job waiting for him on Monday when he and a friend decided to take a trip to Mexico from Texas on July 29, 2017.

He promised his mother he wouldn't be gone long. Lisa Torres Franco told KRGV that her son said,

"I'll see you soon, mom," and hugged her before he left.

But nearly five years later, Franco, who was 21 at the time, has never been seen again.

Franco And His Friend Plan A Trip To Mexico

Franco made a trip to Mexico.
Unsplash | Andrés Sanz

Franco was born in the United States but still had many family members living in Mexico, particularly in Nuevo Leon.

So it wasn't unusual for the family to make day trips to Mexico. His mother said this was the first time Franco had made the journey without his parents.


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The Pair Goes Quiet After Crossing The Border

Roberto Franco Jr.
https://namus.nij.ojp.gov/case/MP72281 | National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

Franco made it to Mexico and reportedly called his father around noon to say they had just crossed the Los Indios Bridge and were headed to their destination.

But hours went by, and his father never heard from him. He was expecting his son to check in again like he usually did. His father called, but Franco never answered.

An Unknown Caller Demands A Ransom Payment

The family attempted to search for Franco.
Shutterstock | 3300887

A day later, the family received a call from someone claiming to have their son.

Lisa Torres Franco said they demanded a ransom of $3,000, which the family paid, expecting their son to be released. They waited at the location where they were told their son would be, but he never showed up.

Her son was with his friend Juan Francisco Hernandez, but it is unclear whether he is missing as well.

Family Files Reports But Gets No Additional Information

The family filed reports with all agencies.
Shutterstock | 173049554

The family filed reports with the local Texas police, the FBI, U.S. Consulate, and Reynosa.

The only contact they've had were messages posted online by someone who had their son's phone, but they don't believe those messages came from Franco.

According to the geo-location stamps, the phone was still in Mexico and active through December 2017. 

The family maintains a Facebook page, Buscando a/Searching for Roberto Franco Jr where they share information about Franco and other missing people. The page is very active and has nearly 1,000 members.

Franco's mother has also joined a group of people with lost relatives in Mexico and has joined searches at several suspected mass grave sites, but no evidence of her son has turned up.

Border Patrol Has Records Of The SUV In August

Border patrol has evidence of the car being used into August.
Shutterstock | 2691457

Robert Franco was last seen wearing an Orange Magellan shirt, light beige carpenter shorts, camouflage crocs, and a black cap with a black and white US flag on the front. He has "Franco" tattooed on his right forearm.

He was last seen driving a 2007 Chevy Tahoe with the Texas license plate GNY4766. The SUV was "flagged" by the U.S. Border Patrol on Aug. 4, 2017. Records show that the vehicle was documented as traveling to Mexico through the Roma checkpoint at 8:47 PM.

The vehicle, along with Franco, was then documented crossing back to the United States from Mexico through Roma at 10:25 p.m. Finally, the car was documented as crossing back into Mexico at the Los Unidos checkpoint at 11:49 p.m.

It is unclear who was driving the SUV and whether Franco and Hernandez were inside it at the time. Very few details have been released by the U.S. government, shedding light on any of the interactions during those crossings.

Anyone with Information about Franco's location should contact the Pasadena Police Department at 713-477-1221.