Ruben Herrera mystery continues: has he been found in South America?

They’re still trying to indentify of the man in South America who claims he’s Ruben Herrera. Ruben disappeared from El Paso, Texas in 1983, at the age of fourteen. He apparently went to Mexico with an adult man who was located later without him. The case was classified as a non-family abduction but I didn’t have much in the way of information. I wrote about the mystery a week ago.

This newest article has a lot more info on Ruben’s disappearance, including the identity of the man who kidnapped him. He said it was for ransom. He got 30 years in prison and never revealed Ruben’s whereabouts. The man in South America who claims to be Ruben wants to be de-listed as a missing person and wants to get in contact with Ruben’s sisters. (Ruben’s mother is dead.)

Color me skeptical. The South American guy COULD be Ruben. Or he could be a crazy person who believes he’s Ruben. Or he could be a creep who gets off on tormenting missing people’s families. Or he could be an opportunist who wants access to an American passport and birth certificate.

Nothing to do but wait and see.

Guy in South America claims to be Ruben Herrera

A South American organization emailed an El Paso newspaper claiming they’ve got Ruben Herrera, who disappeared in 1983 at the age of 14. From the article:

Marcel Ramirez Rhor, with FundaciĆ³n PapĆ” por Siempre (Father for Life Foundation) in Colombia, said in a May 21 email that Herrera is indigent and needs to fix his immigration status in a country outside the United States.

Ramirez said his organization wants to help Herrera and for that reason requested a street address for Herrera’s relatives in El Paso and a Social Security number for him.

He also said the missing El Pasoan was unwilling to provide further details that might help to confirm his identity. “He is not very sociable, and we are the ones who insisted on him regularizing his status, but so far he has not cooperated,” Ramirez said. “After he told us his story, we began to search on the Internet for information. We saw that everything he told us was true, and we thought it was necessary to contact his relatives.”

The man who says he is Herrera indicated in emails to the El Paso Times that he does not wish to return to El Paso, reunite with his Texas relatives or disclose where he lives. “I just want to find my two sisters,” he said.

Now, it would be really cool if this guy IS in fact Ruben, even if he doesn’t want to be in touch with his family. At least they can close the case and know he’s alive. From what little I know about his disappearance, he COULD be Ruben. But, frankly, this person sounds like a con artist who wants to get his hands on an American Social Security number at the expense of torturing Ruben’s family.

(Fun fact: Ruben might not actually have an SSN. I know they didn’t used to automatically give them out when babies were born, not back then, and often you didn’t get one until you got a job. When I was six years old and at the university with my father, some student of his kept asking me questions and was amazed that I could answer them all correctly. She finally said, “What’s your Social Security number?” I looked at her blankly and she laughed at me. Then Dad said, “Actually, she doesn’t have one.” He explained that I had not gotten one when I was born and as far as he was concerned, there was no reason for a six-year-old to have one. Maybe I didn’t get assigned one right away because I was born at home and not in the hospital. Of course I have one now. And no, I’m not telling you what it is.)