It has been 38 years since Ramon Jaramillo Vasquez went missing, but the family continues to hope that one day they will finally know what happened to him.
Vasquez has been missing since June 25, 1982. His sister, Esmeralda Charles carries the memory of Vasquez in her heavy heart.
Nearly four decades later, Charles hopes that someone, somewhere has answers for her family especially with her mother's recently diagnosis of dementia.
"If we could just know something, anything about what happened to my brother years ago. My mother was diagnosed with dementia and she needs to have some closure," Charles said. "We all want closure. I continue praying that one day someone will tell us what happened."
Vasquez went missing at the age of 28 after he went to a nearby store near his home on Rayo Street with his brother-in-law, Juan Suarez, and never returned.
According to Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department reports, Suarez was admitted to a local hospital later that night with a gunshot wound to his chest, which he told deputies he accidentally inflicted on himself. Suarez later changed his story and said Vasquez shot him. He also said he then struck Vasquez in the head or neck and left him on the side of a road, reports stated. According to investigators, Vasquez was never seen again and no one was charged in his disappearance.
Charles said over the past 30-something years law enforcement have searched a number of locations for Vasquez's body throughout the county, and has heard many rumors about where he might be buried.
Vasquez was last seen getting into an early 1980s white Ford pickup truck with Texas license plates near his residence in the 1100 block of Rayo Street on the day of his disappearance. The truck was later found abandoned at the Alice Police Department.
"This is still an open case," said Lt. Alan Gonzalez with the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department. "It's an ongoing investigation. Over the years, we have made contact with (Vasquez's) sister. Last year, (Charles) came to us believing that she had seen her brother in Corpus Christi. A trip to the area didn't lead us anywhere... The case is never closed and won't be until we have an answer for the family."
Charles said she had a glimmer of hope when she was having lunch at a Mexican food restaurant in Corpus Christi and a homeless man resembling her brother walked by. She was unable to locate the man afterward and contacted the investigators.
"We want to be able to give the family closure," Lt. Gonzalez said. "He deserves to be brought home, and given a proper Christian funeral and burial."
"My brother has legally been declared dead," Charles said. "I have hope that one day my family, my mother, will know what happened to my brother."
At the time of his disappearance, Vasquez was 5 feet 9 inches and weighed 170 pounds. He had brown hair, brown eyes and a scar on his chin. He also had a tattoo of a rose on his left bicep with a ribbon below the rose with the names of his wife, daughter and himself – "Gracie," "Sandra" and "Ramon." He was last seen wearing a denim vest, blue jeans and brown leather sandals.
Anyone with information regarding Vasquez's disappearance is asked to contact the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department at 361-668-0341 or Crime Stoppers of South Texas at 361-664-STOP (7867). Callers can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward if the tip leads to an arrest.