Investigators are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on Erik Arceneux, 47, who has now been formally charged with the murder of Maria Jimenez Rodriguez — a paralegal and mother of a 5-year-old girl —more than a year after she failed to show up for work.
The woman’s body hasn’t been found, but authorities say they have video evidence and a signed receipt proving that Arceneux purchased a chainsaw and trash bags on the day the girlfriend, who was 29 at the time, went missing.
According to Houston’s FOX 26, police searched Arceneaux’s home Oct. 18 and found drops of blood on a wall but haven’t confirmed whether the blood was the victim’s.
Erik Arceneux, 47, is being sought in connection with the suspected murder of his girlfriend, authorities say. (Houston Police Department)
In June 2018, co-workers and family members became concerned when Jimenez Rodriguez failed to show up for work. Soon afterward, some started receiving odd text messages from the woman’s cell number that didn’t appear to have been written by her.
One message referred to the missing woman having to go back to the babysitter for “Dest” – meaning her daughter Destiny.
“We knew something was wrong,” the woman’s boss, Sam Milledge, told Houston’s KTRK-TV, “because she doesn’t refer to her daughter Destiny as ‘Dest’.”
At some point before he disappeared, police spoke with Arceneaux, who told them he hadn’t seen the victim on the day she vanished. But phone records show both of their phones were at his house that day, FOX 26 reported.
Those who knew the girlfriend say Arceneaux was a gym trainer who seemed to have become obsessed with the woman, according to the station. Court records indicate he has a violent past and once drove around Houston with a gun pointed at a different woman, threatening to kill her, the report said.
Neighbors near Arceneaux’s last known address told the station he hasn’t been seen in months.
Houston police ask that anyone with information about the case call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.