Police in Brownfield are still looking for a missing man. As we told you earlier this week, 36-year-old Rudy Villarreal has been missing since last Wednesday, September 17th. And his family fears the worst.
38-year-old Tommy Lewis is the last man known to have seen Rudy Villarreal before he vanished. That simple fact has put Lewis at the center of the investigation.
On the spot, and fielding questions again this week, Tommy Lewis is perhaps a little relieved it's for television this time around, not for police. Lewis maintains he has no idea what happened to his friend of 10 years Rudy Villarreal. "I'm sorry he disappeared. Don't know where he went. If there's anything I can do, I'll do anything I can," says Lewis.
Lewis' Attorney Jeff Conner explaining why his client is the subject of so much attention lately. "Police are interested in Tommy because he was with Villarreal the night he disappeared," says Conner.
According to police reports, Villarreal's family says he had been drinking and got into a fight at a Brownfield night club the night of his disappearance. He then went with his friend Tommy Lewis to Lewis' home. "Mr. Villarreal had been at Tommy's home, had spent some time there and then Lewis offered to drive him home. On the way, Villarreal suddenly jumped out," says Conner.
Frightened by his friends demeanor, Lewis says he drove away. Figuring Villarreal could just walk home. Lewis believes Villarreal may have been under the influence of more than just alcohol that night. Brownfield Police confirm Villarreal was likely on drugs that night.
Earlier this week, Villarreal's family, friends and several Brownfield law enforcement officers fanned out and searched the area where Lewis claims to have last seen Villarreal. Some family members question Lewis' story. They say he's told two or three different versions of what happened that night.
But, after volunteering to take a lie detector test, Conner says his client has nothing to hide. "Tommy passed his polygraph today (Friday), which he voluntarily gave."
Police agree that Lewis' story checks out and they've dismissed him as the primary suspect.
"Would you say your friend Rudy was acting out of character that night?, asked NewsChannel 11's Russell Haythorn. "Yes! He was a totally different person. Talkin' Spanish to a white boy that don't understand Spanish. Didn't even know who I was," says Lewis.
Police say Lewis has been very cooperative. Sgt. David Cruz says they are following up on every lead and rumor. In fact, today, it was rumored that Cruz's body was found in a cemetery near Brownfield. That is not true.
If you have any information that could help in the investigation, you're urged to contact Sgt. David Cruz in Brownfield at (806) 637-2511.