The case of a 7-year-old New Mexico boy who went missing while walking home from a friend’s house 11 years ago remains a mystery: DNA tests show that a 19-year-old who said he might be the boy isn’t him, authorities announced Friday.
The 19-year-old, who identified himself as Robert Terrezas, had indicated that he could be the missing child and allowed investigators to take a DNA sample on Thursday.
An analysis on the sample confirmed he was not the missing boy, Robbie Romero, Santa Fe police officials said at a press conference Friday.
“The missing person case of Robbie Romero remains open,” Police Chief Ray Rael said.
The story unfolded Wednesday evening when Terrezas was talking to a friend, Ricky Romero, who is a brother of Robbie Romero, according to media reports.
Terrezas told Ricky that he also used the name Robert Romero and had a hard time remembering his childhood.
Ricky Romero rushed home and told his mother, Evelyn, who called police.
“I can see the resemblance and his mannerisms but I wonder if that’s me just wanting it so bad, him being alive and well,” Evelyn Romero told KOB on Thursday.
Rael said Evelyn Romero was informed of the DNA results just before Friday’s press conference.
Police have said that if the case turns out to be a false report, the teen will not be prosecuted for any wrongdoing since Terrezas didn’t approach police — they approached him.
Santa Fe police have treated Robbie Romero’s disappearance in 2000 as a homicide, but no one was ever arrested in the case and his body was never found.
Robbie Romero’s older brother, Ronnie, was suspected but never charged. Ronnie Romero died of a heroin overdose in prison on unrelated charges in 2009.
Robbie Terrezas’ mother, Yolanda Armendariz, told KOB there is no way her son is Robbie Romero.
“This is my son, this is my son,” Armendariz said. “Friends call my son Robert Romero because they have the same face.”
NBC affiliate KOB.com contributed to this report.
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