New court documents identify suspect, reveal graphic details in case of missing mother

A man has been identified and charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend over a year ago, according to newly released court documents.

HOUSTON – A man has been identified and charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend over a year ago, according to newly released court documents.

What happened:

Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez, 29, was reported missing on June 21, 2018, when she vanished after dropping her daughter off at the babysitter’s house.

According to authorities, Jimenez-Rodriguez did not show up to work the next day but sent multiple texts to a coworker saying the babysitter told her to pick her daughter back up and another that said she thought someone was following her.

“There was a text message reported to be from her, but it didn’t seem like her,” said Samuel Milledge, the family’s spokesman and Jimenez-Rodriquez’s boss. “And again, in doing further investigation, we checked with the babysitter. The babysitter said she never called and told Maria to come pick her daughter up.”

Her vehicle was found the day after Jimenez-Rodriguez was reported missing about three miles from the babysitter’s house, where she was last seen. Both her purse and cellphone were missing.

What’s new:

Now, more than a year after she was reported missing, new court documents revealed that her boyfriend Erik Arceneaux has been charged with murder in connection with Jimenez-Rodriguez’s death. 

According to the documents, Arceneaux’s daughter from a previous relationship told authorities that her father used to beat her now-deceased mother and that she thought Jimenez-Rodriguez was trying to end her relationship with Arceneaux.

Arceneaux had told authorities he had not seen Jimenez-Rodrigues since June 20, 2018, but during the investigation, police found surveillance footage that showed her vehicle driving in the direction of Arceneaux’s home the day she disappeared, court documents revealed.

Authorities said they also looked at phone tower records and determined Jimenez-Rodriguez’s phone had been with Arceneaux’s phone on the day she disappeared, according to the documents.
Court records showed the phones stayed together throughout the day June 21, and they were at the location where Jimenez-Rodriguez’s car was abandoned around 5 p.m.

Police said surveillance video caught Jimenez-Rodriguez’s vehicle around that time and Arceneaux was seen in the same footage shortly after walking in the opposite direction of the vehicle, according to court documents.

Jimenez-Rodriguez’s phone was turned off and when it was turned back on later that day, phone records showed both phones traveled to a Home Depot where Arceneaux was seen on surveillance footage walking in the store alone and purchasing an electric chainsaw and contractor trash bags, court documents revealed.

It was also during the drive to Home Depot that the text message about someone following her was sent from Jimenez-Rodriguez’s phone, according to court documents.

Authorities searched Arceneaux’s home and found evidence of blood on the walls and ceiling of the bedroom, but the blood was not suitable for DNA testing, court documents revealed.

Police believe Arceneaux is to blame for Jimenez-Rodriguez’s death and he attempted to establish an alibi by using her cellphone to send text messages, according to court documents.

Jimenez-Rodriguez’s body has still not been found.

What’s next:

Arceneaux has an extensive criminal record spanning two decades, including one aggravated assault charged in 2011 for putting a gun to his then-girlfriend’s head and threatening to kill her, to which he plead guilty.

Authorities are still searching for Arceneaux. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.