The FBI has joined the search for a Houston mother of three who has been missing for more than a week, local leaders announced Monday.
Erica Hernandez, 40, was last seen on April 17 in the southwest part of Houston near Highway 288 and the Beltway driving her 2020 Black GMC Acadia, according to investigators.
Lt. Manny Cruz, the Houston Police Department's commander of the missing person's unit, said Monday that search crews have thoroughly searched the area where Hernandez was last seen and need to expand their search.
"She was mobile," he said. "She could have really driven anywhere."
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who answered pleas from the family to lend her help in the search, said the investigation area was being broadened and the FBI was working in "a complimentary and collaborative stance with the Houston Police Department" to find Hernandez.
Texas EquuSearch, a nonprofit group of volunteers, is helping the family in their search.
"This family has worked and worked and worked," Lee said. "When I first met them they were in the field. They were out looking for Erica. They have not stopped."
"This mother needs to be found and she needs to be found now," Lee said, noting that Mother's Day is fast approaching.
She urged the community to share whatever information they may have.
"Someone has seen something," Lee said. "Someone knows something. Someone is not saying something."
Hernandez’s family said she was visiting with a friend on the day of her disappearance, NBC affiliate KPRC reported. She left the friend's house about 2:30 a.m. CT and was in contact with the friend on her ride home. When the friend asked her how far she was from home, she said five minutes.
That was the last time anyone heard from her, and her phone was turned off.
Hernandez’s family grew suspicious because she wouldn't have left her 19-year-old daughter without a car to take to work the next morning, they told KPRC. Hernandez also has a 15-year-old and a 3-year-old.
Her Acadia has an Texas A&M University Aggie mom sticker on it, and the license plate is MKJ3303.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Houston Police Department at 832-394-1840 or Texas EquuSearch at 281-309-9500.