AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Travis County probation officer who has been missing for a week may have left town on his own account and headed to the border, according to the mother of his son. Family and friends have been worried about Juventino Mendiola’s disappearance because of the stress that comes with his work. The 38-year-old didn’t show up to work last Tuesday, and no one’s seen him since.
Crystal Decker is the mother of Mendiola’s son. She says she met with a detective on Monday. An investigation revealed Mendiola bought a Greyhound bus ticket to the South Texas bordertown of Laredo.
Still, Decker previously told KXAN that she is struggling to keep things normal for her son amid his dad’s disappearance.
“I don’t want to worry a 9-year-old about something that is a grown-up problem,” said Decker on Sunday. “I have faith that he’s going to come and we’re going to find him and he’s going to come back. And I’m hoping that I don’t have to tell my son that daddy is missing.”
Friends say the last time anyone saw Mendiola was when he left his South Austin apartment early last Tuesday morning.
“This is not like him at all,” said friend Joel Avila, “He’s very reliable, very responsible, and it’s just caught everybody by surprise.”
Avila and Decker both say they’ve reached out to all the friends and family they can. And while they know a missing adult is a tough case, but they will keep searching.
Austin police assigned a detective to the case on Monday, and they had already issued a “be on the look out” for Mendiola. Mendiola drives a dark gray 2002 GMC Sierra. He’s about 5 feet 10 inches- to 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has dark hair that’s cut short.