The FBI has joined the search for a missing mom-of-three who vanished two weeks ago on the way home from a friend’s house in the early hours of the morning.
Erica Hernandez, 40, has not been heard of since April 18, when she texted her friend to say she was ‘five minutes away from getting home.’
Her family says she was visiting a friend and left around 2:30am.
After the final text her phone was turned off and she hasn’t been heard from since.
Hernandez is a single mother who has three children, ages 19, 16, and 3 years old.
Her son Dennis, who was 15 years old when his mother first went missing, had his 16th birthday without his mom last Wednesday.
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Erica Hernandez, 40, has been missing for over two weeks after she was last seen April 18
Hernandez was seen on a Ring video camera on the night of her disappearance
Investigators say she was near Highway 288 and the Beltway when she was last seen driving her 2020 Black GMC Acadia, which has a Texas A&M University Aggie mom sticker attached to it.
Last week, Hernandez’s sister-in-law released Ring doorbell camera video showing Erica leaving their home on the Saturday evening she was last seen.
Hernandez was wearing jeans and a blue shirt, with her hair pulled back.
‘We called the hospitals, we asked for her name and asked for Jane Doe’s nothing,’ Eldia Hernandez said to ABC13.
‘We’re all frustrated. We’re all in disbelief because this is not like her. This is not her routine. Her kids are her world, and she would never ever leave her kids.’
Investigators have looked for Hernandez in Fort Bend County due to a tip, but did not find here there.
She was also not found in her own neighborhood, according to KHOU.
Hernandez’s SUV has also not been found.
‘She was mobile. She could have really driven anywhere,’ Lt. Manny Cruz, the Houston Police Department’s commander of the missing person’s unit, previously said.
Local officials announced that the FBI joined the search effort for Hernandez towards the end of April.
Hernandez was wearing a blue shirt and jeans with her hair pulled back at last sighting
Her family and friends have been campaigning for weeks to find Hernandez
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claimed the FBI was joining the search in ‘a complimentary and collaborative stance with the Houston Police Department,’ according to NBC News.
‘This mother needs to be found and she needs to be found now,’ Lee said. ‘Someone has seen something. Someone knows something. Someone is not saying something.’
Texas EquuSearch, nonprofit volunteers, have also been helping to search for Hernandez.
Albert Flores, who is with the Texas United Coalition, has previously offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to Hernandez.
This week, banners and billboards were revealed across Texas to raise awareness
Hernandez’s SUV is missing as well, making the search area for her even larger
A GoFundMe has raised over $5,000 towards the search efforts.
There’s also a dedicated Facebook page providing updates on the search.
A post on Thursday read: ‘It is absolutely heartbreaking. We have been in contact with authorities and they are coming up empty handed, just like us. We have had trips made by family and volunteers to areas that tarot readers have mentioned but have not found her or her car.
‘Yes we are tired, yes we are mentally drained, yes our spirits are sometimes broken, we feel defeated, we feel exhausted BUT we love our Erica and we will not give up on her!’
Hernandez’s daughter, Briza Armenta, publicly spoke about her mother’s disappearance almost 10 days after she first went missing.
The FBI joined the search towards the end of April, but hasn’t had any luck finding her
‘It does get to me sometimes, but I’m going to have to be strong, and I have to be OK for my family,’ Briza said, according to KHOU.
‘We’re all just trying to stay positive,’ the Texas A&M student added. ‘It’s just a lot of uncertainty right now. We don’t know where she could be. Where to look. We have no idea. We just have no clues right now.’
Briza also said to her mom, ‘If you’re watching this, just remember that we’re looking and to be strong and to hold on because we’re coming. We’re going to come, and you’ll be home soon.’
This week, electronic billboards and banners were put up across the state to drive awareness about the search.
One banner, which was unfurled over the Southwest Freeway on Monday afternoon, read ‘Find Erica Hernandez.’
Pictured: A missing poster for Hernandez, who missed her son’s birthday recently
‘We can’t imagine there’s not someone out there with information, so the family is begging for people with any kind of information,’ Lee said after the banner was unfurled, according to ABC13.
‘We don’t know what might’ve happened, but we know that she’s a loving mother, and she has three beautiful children that want her to come home.’
Ashley Hernandez, Erica’s sister, says the search for Erica will continue.
‘We still need to find her,’ Ashley said. ‘That’s the whole point, you know. Whether I think the outcome is going to be good or bad, we still need to find her and we still need her.
‘We need her for her family, so I’m not exactly sure where their mind is at, but my mind is not in a good place.’