SAN ANTONIO – A Massachusetts family is frustrated by the lack of action taken regarding their missing loved one, who disappeared days after arriving in San Antonio from Boston for a new job.
Marlyn Rosa says her nephew, 37-year-old Juan Santiago, was with his girlfriend and checked into Motel 6 near I-35 and Rittman Road the weekend of June 20, 2020.
Walkers found his partial skeletal remains along Salado Creek on Ft. Sam Houston Base on Dec. 27, 2020, just over a mile away from the hotel where he made a desperate 911 call.
The 911 call obtained by the family and shared with KSAT is about 4 minutes long. A man can be heard telling dispatchers he had a “situation” and asked that they track his phone to determine his location. He claimed someone tried to rob him.
“Please, can you send somebody here?” the man told dispatchers.
The call continues with the man arguing with someone. Then there are muffled sounds, and the caller is heard telling the dispatcher, “I had to run for my life. Call me back. I’ll just keep you in my pocket,” before the call goes silent.
SAPD says officers were dispatched to the motel on June 19, 2020, around 4:15 p.m., but no formal complaint was generated.
Rosa said when the family heard from Santiago’s girlfriend about his disappearance, they tried to file a missing person’s report but were given the runaround.
“There was some back and forth there at the police station. We were like, ‘Somebody used to help us. We’re desperate here. We’re getting doors shut over there. We need a report,” Rosa said.
She said the family was forced to file a police report in Chelsea, Massachusetts, although Santiago was in San Antonio. They say the person who likely had all the answers, Santiago’s girlfriend, was never questioned.
The San Antonio police report says the girlfriend left San Antonio back to Boston, then to Orlando, before checking into a hospital for suicidal tendencies and died the next day.
The U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Operations said they were working with SAPD on the case in early January. KSAT tried to obtain more information about the case from SAPD then, but the department claimed it was not their case.
Rosa also said it was the same response the family was getting. This week, SAPD finally reached the family to inform them they would be handling the case. The department also provided KSAT with a missing person’s report but said they could not comment on the case because it’s an active investigation.
Rosa said the family has little hope of finding out what happened to Santiago. They just want his remains returned.
“The system failed. It failed us. It failed my nephew, our family. My hope is that no other family go and experience what we have experienced and have to go through,” she said.
Santiago is survived by his mother, two children and a brother, along with other family members. Rosa says he was a kind, happy man who went above and beyond to help his family.
If you have information on what happened to Juan Santiago, call Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.