Austin police find 3-year-old boy in wooded area after going missing for nearly 12 hours, Caldwell County says

Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 17:59:34-05

CALDWELL COUNTY, TX (KVUE) — Austin police located a 3-year-old boy Monday in a wooded area in East Austin after he went missing for nearly 12 hours.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) said deputies responded to a convenience store in Dale, Texas, at approximately 3:45 a.m. Monday when Vanessa Soto, 32, told them her 3-year-old son was missing after going to the store with her boyfriend, 27-year-old Jesus Rochel.

CCSO said deputies went to a residence at 20416 Camino Real in Dale to search for the child and found Rochel there with a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old, but the 3-year-old child was not at the residence. CCSO said deputies arrested Rochel after a brief altercation and discovered Rochel had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Travis County for family violence.

According to CCSO, deputies learned the 3-year-old boy went missing while Rochel and the 5-year-old were in a car wreck that was possibly the result of a police pursuit along Farm to Market 812. CCSO said it contacted multiple agencies to check possible pursuits and were told there weren't any within the suspected time frame.


The 3-year-old boy was then entered as a missing endangered child in the Texas Crime Information Center, according to CCSO. CCSO said it contacted Texas Department of Public Safety-Texas Rangers for assistance with the investigation, and the Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) also confirmed to KVUE it had been called by CCSO for assistance at approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday. TCSO said its deputies assisted with the call until 1:45 p.m.

After getting a license plate number from the vehicle Rochel had been driving, deputies learned the vehicle was towed from Tracor Lane in Austin and CCSO asked the Austin Police Department for assistance to search for the 3-year-old boy, CCSO said.

At approximately 3 p.m. Monday, the APD informed CCSO officers they had located the 3-year-old boy in a wooded area near where the car was towed. APD said the boy was alive and was taken to Dell Children's Medical Center for evaluation, according to CCSO.

Rochel has been charged with assault on a public servant and the Travis County family violence charge.

Soto has been charged with false report to a peace officer.

CCSO said the investigation is active and ongoing and no further information would be released from the department.

Public records indicate Rochel has been arrested seven times between 2010 and 2016 by Austin police, Hays County and the Kyle Police department on various charges, including assault, tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance.

Story courtesy of KVUE.