Ernesto Gonzales went missing nearly two years ago, it’s a high-profile missing case the Harlingen Police Department has yet to solve.
“He would want to help anybody, do anything and as far as I know he was a good attorney,” said Rick Gonzales, Ernesto identical twin brother.
According to Harlingen PD, there has been no indication of life in the past two years.
“There has been no trace of him, basically from one day to the next dropped off of the face of the earth – that indication alone tells us that something is definitely not right, and it is our belief that he is no longer living,” stated Dave Osborne, Harlingen Police Department commander.
His identical twin brother believes the same, “I know my twin brother better than anyone else, he loved his occupation, he loved his home, he loved his horses without a shadow of a doubt he did not leave on his own.”
Before Ernesto’s disappearance, he filed a protective order against five family members stating he feared for his life. According to Rick, the turmoil began when siblings didn’t agree on their mothers care.
“He didn’t think she was getting the proper care, and of course there is eight of use,” Rick said. “Everyone has an opinion on how your parents should be you know in their health and what they should of shouldn’t do when they are at their end towards their life and that is where the trouble started.”
Mary-Ann, Ernesto’s sister was taking care of their mother with her home health care business, something, Ernesto did not want.
As the investigation has evolved the Harlingen Police Department said detectives have uncovered some red flags with Ernesto’s family.
“We have had cooperation from some of the family members to a large extent where there is others that have refused to come in and provide some statements they have refused to accept a polygraph examination,” Osborne said.
Rick believes that his family has something to do with his twin brother’s disappearance.
When asked if he felt his family is involved in your brother’s disappearance he does not hesitate to answer yes.
“Without a doubt,” Rick said. “I think the nail that basically does it for me and the main reason is the GPS.”
A digital GPS timeline of Ernesto’s phone the day he went missing obtained by the police department a year into Ernesto’s disappearance.
“It takes a very peculiar path, we followed that path which more reinforces the fact that he was not alone on his last day of his disappearance,” Osborne said. “He was with someone that he mostly knew or trusted,” Osborne said. According to authorities and family members, Ernesto had a specific routine, and was an early riser.
A GPS timeline shows him leaving his home at 3:34 a.m. and heading over to Whataburger.
“He had a regular pattern every day, anyone who knew Ernesto—he had a regular pattern every morning going to a local Whataburger early in the morning, bringing in breakfast and so forth to the office in the morning and turning on A/C for his office,” Osborn said. “Those patterns are very consistent with everyone that has ever known him.”
On the day he went missing his routine was different, GPS from his phone shows he left his office taking dirt back roads and avoiding the main highways, finally arriving at his nephew Salomon Campo’s house at 5:45 a.m. Then he returns to his law office and leaves again.
Ernesto’s GPS information shows his next stop was at his nephew Salomon’s goat ranch.
Investigators said Salomon is a person of interest, and they believe he was ordered to follow Ernesto before his disappearance by Ernesto’s sister Mary-Ann.
According to police, he has yet to come in and provide an official statement with a polygraph test.
“Of course it’s not admissible in court as you know, but a polygraph is a good indicator is someone is telling us the truth or not,” Osborn said.
Attempts to contact Salomon went unanswered.
“Even in his office there were no signs of apparent struggle,” Osborne said. “Normally if someone was taken or kidnapped there is papers out of place possibly evidence there was some kind of foul play.”
He said investigators ruled out foul play.
“So it tells us who ever he went with that morning he was familiar with and knew,” Osborne said. “And maybe at that point didn’t even feel threatened.”
GPS information shows Ernesto’s phone travels back to his law office again arriving at 6:31 a.m. It was the last time he is in his office before his phone loses connection permanently.
Ernesto’s GPS information ends on Wilcox Road. in Harlingen, where Ernesto’s brother lives, Luis Gonzales
According to police, the amount of family members helping investigators find Ernesto is minimal.
“The family may argue that they have been forth coming on the information, but that is not correct our record indicate differently,” Osborn said. “And so we hope to eliminate them as suspects through this process.”
He said some family members have come forward and cooperated, provided statements and taken a polygraph and have had no issues.
“Other ones for whatever reason refuse too,” Osborne said.
Rick, Ernesto’s twin brother he wants the truth even if it means discovering something he has believed all along.
“I think something went wrong and they made some mistakes and if there is anyone out there that has not made any mistakes I don’t believe it,” Rick said. “No one is an angel, everyone makes mistakes and I think that is what happened here and hopefully we can get back together as a family and put this behind us.
“We are not going to get our brother back, so maybe we can make amends and build a bridge,” Rick said.