HOUSTON, Texas- A cold case has taken a chilling turn as police arrested a man suspected of a gruesome murder dating back to 2018. Eric Fardell Arceneaux, 51, is now facing charges for the alleged murder and dismemberment of Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez, a 29-year-old mother who disappeared five years ago. Despite the arrest, the victim’s body remains missing.
The case has been shrouded in mystery since Jimenez-Rodriguez vanished after dropping her special needs child off at a babysitter’s home. The following day, a series of text messages from her phone raised alarm among her friends and family. The messages, which claimed that the babysitter had asked her to pick up her child and that she felt she was being followed, were later suspected to have been sent by Arceneaux in an attempt to divert suspicion.
The investigation took a turn when Jimenez-Rodriguez’s car was discovered a day after her family reported her missing. Further examination of phone records revealed that Arceneaux’s and Jimenez-Rodriguez’s phones were in the same location on the day she disappeared. Surveillance footage from a local Home Depot showed Arceneaux purchasing an electric chainsaw and trash bags later that same day. A subsequent search of his home uncovered blood spatter on the walls and ceiling.
In a twist, court records reportedly identified Arceneaux as the missing woman’s boyfriend, a claim her family disputes. Jimenez-Rodriguez’s sister, Gloria, told reporters she believed Arceneaux was a stalker and was unaware of any romantic relationship between the two. Arceneaux’s own daughter, unrelated to Jimenez-Rodriguez, told police that her father had a history of violence, alleging that he used to beat her mother.
Arceneaux, who was arrested outside a Houston business, is currently held on a $250,000 bail. As the case unfolds, the family of Jimenez-Rodriguez continues to seek answers and justice for the young mother whose life was tragically cut short.