NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - In Nacogdoches, the grandparents of a man missing in Cabo San Lucas since Wednesday are desperately wanting to hear that their grandson is safe and sound.
Elijah Hernandez grew up in Nacogdoches. The 26-year-old was scheduled to return to the US last week following a two-month mission trip. Today, residents in his former hometown are praying for his safe return.
Hernandez was scheduled to be in Dallas from Cabo San Lucas a week ago today to prepare for his brother's wedding.
"He's in the wedding and he just didn't get on the plane," said his grandmother, Sally Randolph.
Randolph says it's totally out of character for her grandson not to call his family. The machinist with an Angelina College degree was on a mission trip constructing a church building for a hurricane stricken barrio.
"All of his clothing, his laptop were still in the hotel room," Randolph said. "He had only his passport, his cell phone and him."
And very little money. Hernandez's last bank withdrawal was only $20.
Randolph's daughter, Teresa Hernandez, is Elijah's mother. Instead of planning for a wedding, the mother of three sons, Elijah's father and an uncle are searching Cabo for their loved one.
"We have a good plan for dealing with the current challenges of finding Elijah," Randolph said.
The Hernandez family live in Dallas, but they maintain close ties to Nacogdoches. Churches and prayer warriors fulfill the family's spiritual requests.
"It's really a feeling of hopelessness, but we know we can have hope because we've been praying for her," said Leisha Bryant, a friend of the family.
"They're asking they have favor with the officials there so they can get the ground help they need," said Kim Weir, a women's ministry leader. "They said the police have been very helpful, know who Elijah is from his work there and they're interested in helping.">
The US consulate is attempting to track Hernandez's cellphone. Meanwhile, a worried grandmother tries to remain focused.
"Your mind can, can come up with all kinds of situations, but you have to not dwell on them," Randolph said. "You have to get back to the fact that God is still in charge and He knows where he is and He can find him if that's His will."
Cabo police, the US consulate and the assistance of Sen. John Cornyn's office are working together on the search.
The Hernandez family had to scrape together money to make the unplanned trip to Cabo. Donations can be made to Commercial Bank in Nacogdoches and Lufkin to the account of Teresa Hernandez.