EVERMAN, Texas (AP) — A 6-year-old Texas boy whose mother has given various stories to explain his absence since last fall is believed to be dead, police said Thursday.
Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez was last seen around the time his mother gave birth to twin girls in October, Everman police Chief Craig Spencer said at a news conference. He said searches for the boy’s body have been focused near the family’s home in Everman, located just south of Fort Worth.
Around the time that Noel was last seen, he was described as “appearing unhealthy and malnourished,” Spencer said. On March 31, arrest warrants on charges of abandoning and endangering a child were issued for the boy’s mother, Cindy Rodriguez-Singh, and her husband, Arshdeep Singh.
They are believed to have flown to India on March 22 along with six children. Two days earlier, police had been asked by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to do a welfare check on the children at the couple’s home. During that visit, Rodriguez-Singh told officers that Noel was staying with family in Mexico.
Spencer said that Rodriguez-Singh “has been known by relatives to be abusive and neglectful to Noel.” Also, he said, investigators learned through interviews that Rodriguez-Singh had referred to Noel as “evil, possessed or having a demon in him” and believed he’d harm the twins.
Police have said that Noel suffers from numerous physical and developmental challenges.
“Relatives and witnesses stated that food and water were often withheld from Noel because Cindy did not like changing Noel’s dirty diapers,” Spencer said. “A relative even witnessed Cindy strike Noel in the face with keys because he drank water.”
Spencer said that on Nov. 1, 2022, Rodriguez-Singh got passport photos for all of the children living with her except for Noel. And then, the next day, she applied for passports for herself and all of the children except for Noel.
Spencer said that in November, Rodriguez-Singh began to try to explain Noel’s absence with “various stories,” including that he was either with his biological father or aunt in Mexico, or that she’d sold him to a woman in a grocery store parking lot. Spencer said that investigators have looked into all of those stories and none were true.