‘Five years of torture’: Family speaks out after bond denied for suspect charged in missing NE Houston woman’s murder

HOUSTON – The family of a missing northeast Houston woman held a news conference Friday to speak out after bond was denied for a suspect accused in the woman’s murder.

Erik Fardell Arceneaux, 51, was booked into the Harris County Jail on Thursday. He was charged with murder in the death of Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez.

RELATED: Man charged with murder of NE Houston woman who went missing in 2018 arrested

Arceneaux was taken into custody on Thursday by members of the U.S. Marshals’ Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force outside a business in the 9500 block of Rowlett Road near the Gulf Freeway.

A judge set Arceneaux’s bond at $250,000, however, his bond was later denied, according to the family and court records.

Rodriguez’ sister, Gloria Jimenez, expressed relief knowing that Arceneaux’s bond has been denied.

“That’s the best news I could ever hear,” she said. “No bond, that means he’s going to sit there and think about what he did.”

Crime victim advocate April Aguirre said Judge Kelli Johnson was the one who denied Arceneaux’s bond.

“Kelli Johnson, judge from the 178th, went ahead and gave this individual now no bond. She made it right, but what if this case didn’t have this much public interest?” she asked. “This individual could have came up with $25,000. That’s what a Nissan Altima is worth. And he could have been out again for another four or five years.”

Aguirre thanked Johnson for denying bond to Arceneaux.

“He is a danger to the community and he deserves to be in jail,” Aguirre said.

“It’s been five years of torture. It’s been five years of tears,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez reported her sister was missing in June 2018. She said Rodriquez was last seen dropping off her daughter at a babysitter’s house in northeast Houston. Her car was found three miles from the babysitter’s house. Records show blood evidence, GPS and cell phone records connect Arceneaux to the crime. Surveillance video showed him at a Home Depot buying a chainsaw and trash bags, according to documents. Police referred to Arceneaux as Rodriguez’s ex-boyfriend, but Rodrigeuz’s sister only knew he was her trainer. She said they found love letters he wrote her.

“There was some letters that were saying how fascinating she was and how of a good person she was and that he wanted a little bit more of a friendship with her,” said Jimenez.

Rodriguez’s body has never been found. Jimenez has a message for Arceneaux.

“It’s been five years of you making me go through all this torture and not having my sister and her daughter not having a mother. I think it’s time that you touch your heart if you have one and tell me where Maria is at,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez spoke about when she heard Arceneaux had been captured.

“I was on my break and I got the call and I started shaking, my heart started beating. It’s an emotion that I’ve been waiting for five years,” she said. “I’m praying to my God that has helped me that he opens his heart and tells me where Maria’s at.”

Jimenez said in her heart, she always knew Arceneaux was still in Houston, even though there were rumors about him.

“There were rumors that he might have been deceased, but I never believed any of that. I knew he was out there. My heart said that he was still out there,” she said.

She shared a message to other families who may be in similar situations.

“Keep faith, keep on going, believe in the God that you have, that you will get closure. Yhey will get captured and you will get justice,” she said.


About the Author:

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.