Rodriguez search

Authorities searched the Little River, near Gause, earlier this week while looking for 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez of Slayton. Rodriguez's abandoned car was found nearby.

Police in the Lubbock area are searching for two men believed to be connected to the disappearance of an elderly resident whose car was found abandoned in the Brazos Valley this week along the banks of a river in Milam County.

According to Milam County Sheriff Chris White, sheriff’s deputies and Texas game wardens used boats Wednesday to search the waters of Little River, near Gause. At the County Road 264 bridge, a car belonging to Celestino Rodriguez, 79, of Slaton, was found abandoned. Rodriguez went missing Aug. 3 and police had issued a Silver Alert after his family reported him missing to the Slaton Police Department, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

A Facebook post from White describes how investigators searched the area using dogs, sonar and drones, but did not locate any sign of Rodriguez. Search efforts were ended around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Although Rodriguez has not been located, the Silver Alert has been lifted, White said.

According to the Avalanche-Journal, the Lubbock Police Department obtained arrest warrants for two men believed to be involved in Rodriguez’s disappearance. Brett Garza, 33, and David Wayne Hampton, 53, are alleged to have used Rodriguez’s debit card at several Lubbock-area businesses the afternoon he went missing.

“Investigators believe both individuals have information about the suspicious disappearance of Celestino Rodriguez,” Lubbock police Capt. Ray Mendoza said in a statement that was quoted by the newspaper.

Anyone with information on the two suspects or on Rodriguez’s whereabouts is asked to contact Lubbock police Det. Gerber at (806) 777-0396 or call Crime Line at (806) 741-1000. Callers may remain anonymous.

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