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FIND ROGELIO: 79-year-old Belton man still missing after a week of searching

Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 14:06:14-04

BELTON, Texas — Using prayers, fliers, search parties and everything else.

The family of Rogelio Arias is exhausting every effort to track down their beloved abuelo who went missing nearly a week ago.

“We don’t have anything bad to say about that man. He is so sweet and so special to us,” Rogelio’s grandson Alex Arias said.

“He was always happy to see my children. He was the one who always lift them up,” Rogelio’s daughter-in-law Esbeida Martinez said.

Family members called Belton Police after he didn’t return from his daily walk Saturday morning.

The family said the 79-year-old has only lived in the U.S. for a month. He only speaks Spanish and suffers from dementia.

“In Mexico, his condition had gotten worse. It got to the point where people knew he had dementia. Unfortunately, people would take advantage of him and take his money,” Alex said.

For days, Rogelio’s daughter-in-law Esbeida Martinez and her son Alex Arias gathered others volunteers to search around the city. Belton Police are also expanding their search.

“We had drones and helicopters in the air searching. That was part of of the grid expansion. Tuesday, off in the same area he went missing, we had officers walk three miles on foot,” City of Belton PIO Paul Romer said.

Police said Rogelio was last seen walking under I-35 near Central Avenue in Belton headed northbound around 10:50 a.m. on March 9.

Belton Police issued a silver alert days after Rogelio’s disappearance.

“I don’t know if it was a miscommunication or not, but they never told me from the beginning he needed a doctor's document saying he’s not capable of making his own decisions to be on a Silver Alert,” Esbeida said.

City officials said Silver Alerts require a medical diagnosis.

Esbeida wants to change that but for now her priority is finding her father-in-law.

“Now that he’s gone, they know we’re gonna bring them home,” Esbeida said.

The family will be organizing another search on March 15 at 4 p.m. at Yettie Polk Park in Belton.

Esbeida said they’ve also reached out to Texas EquuSearch and other organizations to help out.

Rogelio is 5'5" and has brown eyes, brown hair, and weighs around 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey hat with a "CJ" on it, a black cross necklace, a black jacket, blue jeans with rolled up bottoms, and blue shoes.

He does not have front teeth, he walks with a limp, and has limited use of his right hand.

If you have any information on Rogelio's whereabouts, please call the Belton Police Department at (254) 933-5840.