The Disappearance of Great-grandmother Pauline Diaz: A South Texas Crime Story

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Pauline Diaz last seen off work

Pauline Diaz, 63, walks out of the HEB where she works on the Southeast Military Doctor and the southeast side of Goliad.

On December 7, 2010, around 2 p.m., surveillance footage showed Diaz walking out of a grocery store and talking to a woman.

Diaz then went to the home of Pedro “Pete” Ruiz, where her estranged husband picked up a lawnmower.

KSAT reporter Courtney Friedman reported on Diaz’s disappearance and discussed the case with us.

“She was supposed to go to his house. He did admit that he saw her that day, but there was no evidence what happened there,” Friedman said.

Start looking for Diaz

Diaz’s truck and car were later found on Route 181 and FM 320, just off the street of Ruiz’s home.

Ruiz and Diaz have had a strained relationship for a while, but Diaz has now officially filed for divorce.

Police never believed Diaz escaped. They soon turned their attention to Ruiz, saying he was someone interested in her disappearance.

“We just want her back now…if she’s gone, please tell us where she is. If she’s alive, bring her back to us,” Diaz’s daughter Juanita said at the time.

Victim’s family hires private investigator

The search continued, but there was no sign of her, so her family took care of it themselves.

“Her daughter Juanita used to say, ‘I don’t think I’ll give up until the day I die,'” Friedman said.

Diaz’s children hired a private investigator named Charlie Parker to begin investigating her disappearance.

Parker has his own theory: He thinks Diaz returned to her house after visiting Ruiz because the shoes she was wearing that day were found in her home and had sand on them—and the sand was also found in Ruiz’s home .

Parker thought someone might surprise Diaz at home.

“Then one of the main things he said was her clothes [in evidence photos from inside her house] Like being thrown away. So he thinks that’s why she’s surprised, because she’s known to be very organized and organized – her house is never a mess. Her clothes were never left on the floor,” Friedman said.

Unfortunately, this theory did not move the case forward. Eight years after Diaz disappeared, law enforcement got another tip.

Wilson County Dense

In June 2018, the Wilson County Sheriff announced that they were exhuming Diaz’s body at the former property of her estranged husband.

That hope was quickly dashed when only one pig skull was found.

“The property was searched shortly after she disappeared. At that time, it didn’t look like any soil was disturbed,” said former Wilson County Sheriff Joe Targett.

Bexar County is densely populated

It wasn’t until last year that another tip came in, this time in Bexar County, that the case was snubbed again.

A man who called investigators said he saw a pile of dirt near the 14400 block of Old Corpus Christi Rd a few years ago, which may have been a shallow grave. in Elmendorf.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spent two hours searching and digging, to no avail.

No evidence was found to help investigators.

“Nothing was found today (but) it shows that law enforcement will go to great lengths to make sure we try to find any open cases that are closed,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

Unfortunately, by the end of 2022, these cases still exist.

Dedicated Diaz family still seeking answers

Diaz is now 76 years old.

Every year on Pauline’s birthday, her family holds a balloon release ceremony at the HEB, where she was last seen.

“I’m just amazed at how they keep themselves, in hope and determination. I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like,” Friedman said. “I mean, when you see them and go to these events, birthdays and observances, they’re happy. They live their lives, but they never forget her.”

With others missing in the area, the Diaz family joined their search, sometimes hoping it was Diaz.

“The thing that stood out to me, especially in my reporting, was that I was actually reporting on another person who was probably missing a few years ago,” Friedman said. “A body was found, and they Believed it. We posted it could be related to the missing person. Her whole family was there. I mean, they’re dedicated, they’re paying attention. They’re always showing up just to make sure they’re there and it’s not her.”

The only one interested is Pedro “Pete” Ruiz, whose relationship has been strained for years, but some wonder if the divorce was the turning point.

“There are theories that you know, she left his house and he came back. But, again, there’s no evidence of any of that. So that’s where it gets really difficult, I think because there’s so little information, but they’re really that doesn’t add up,” Friedman said.

Twelve years later, Diaz’s family has no more answers than the day she disappeared.

“I don’t exactly think they’re going to close because I know that’s why they’re fighting. But I also see them celebrating with joy. I see them celebrating with joy about her life,” Friedman said. “They will never stop looking for her, but if it makes sense, they will continue to live for her.”

This remains a pending case — anyone with information is asked to call Wilson County Crime Stoppers at 888-808-7894 or the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office at 210-335-TIPS.Her family also offered a $25,000 reward

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