Investigative Reporter Colleen McCarty and Photojournalist Kyle Zuelke
I-Team: Family Suspects Foul Play in Man's Disappearance
Heriberto "Nony" Herrera
Heriberto "Nony" Herrera
Herrera's Abandoned Truck at Mt. Charleston
LAS VEGAS - In the faces of the forgotten, sisters Mari Fernandez and Rita Williams search for the familiar. Their brother, Heriberto "Nony" Herrera, has been missing since May.
"He's a loving father, husband, because he loved his family more than life itself," Fernandez said. "He loved us sisters very much, and that's why this is so hard. Because, I know he would not put us through this pain."
The Herrera siblings are a tight knit group, sewn together by the loss of their parents at a young age. Yet in the weeks leading up to Nony's disappearance, his sisters noticed a distance forming between them.
"What concerns me is my brother, was he being manipulated," Williams asked. "Why was he being separated from his family that's been there forever?"
Nony confided he sought in-patient treatment for a psychotic episode. Newly diagnosed mental health issues, his wife confirms, prompted her to take their children and leave. On the morning of May 14, the stay-at-home dad reported them missing to police, then drove, unannounced, to Mari's workplace. Surveillance images captured Nony as he discovered his sister wasn't there.
"I was finally able to reach him at his home," Fernandez said. "He told me that he was looking for me, to let me know that Johanna had just left him and taken the boys with her. He was upset. He said it had been a long night."
Nony, she says, planned to get some rest and promised to call when he woke. Hours passed without a word. Police records reveal officers saw Nony around 3:00pm when his wife returned to their home in The Lakes for some belongings. By 4:00pm, Mari's calls to the house went unanswered.
Metro Police Lt. Rob Lundquist is supervising the missing person's investigation. "We believe he got into his vehicle and drove away," Lt. Lundquist said. "We want to find out where he's at. What happened to this individual, whether he left on his own to start over or if something actually happened to him?"
Nony's wife Johanna Blake says she found about $2,000 in cash, financial records, passports and credit cards missing from the couple's home. Yet, not a single one has been used.
The first break in Nony's case came from a place his family says he never visited: Mt. Charleston. Two weeks after his disappearance, police found Nony's SUV abandoned near the Trail Canyon Trailhead. Locals reported it had been parked there for some time. Inside, police found a suitcase, Nony's medication and some water according to his wife. There was no sign of the missing financials or of any foul play. A police search of the mountain that day, followed by subsequent volunteer efforts, has uncovered no sign of Nony.
"For him to drive, allegedly drive that vehicle to Mt. Charleston is not making any sense to us," Fernandez said. "He does not like to go the mountains. We do not visit the mountains."
"Nony would never walk away, no matter how stressed he was, no matter what was going on," Williams said.
"For him not to contact any family member, something is not right. He's not missing on his own free will," said Fernandez.
His sisters can't stop looking. Each week, they scan the faces of the forgotten, hoping against hope they'll find their brother staring back.
Anyone with information on Nony's whereabouts is urged to contact Metro's Missing Person's detail at 828-2907.
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