HOUSTON, Texas -- A man has been charged with murder in the case of a Houston mother who went missing over a year ago, and authorities are asking for the public's help in locating him.
Erik Arceneaux is accused of killing his girlfriend, Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez, and dismembering her body with a chainsaw, according to court documents.
Jimenez-Rodriguez was last seen on June 21, 2018, when she dropped her daughter off with the babysitter and went to work in her silver truck.
The single mother was a paralegal working at the Milledge Law Firm, but on June 21, she never arrived to work. Her co-workers said it was unusual and out of character.
Investigators say her co-workers also said that they started receiving strange text messages from Jimenez-Rodriguez saying that she would be late.
Her co-workers questioned the legitimacy of the text messages because they didn't sound like they were coming from Jimenez-Rodriguez.
According to court documents, Arceneaux told police he hadn't seen Jimenez-Rodriguez that day, but cellphone data showed that their phones were at the same location.
Authorities say they tracked the phones to a Home Depot in northwest Houston, and surveillance video shows a man matching Arceneaux's description purchasing trash bags and a chainsaw.
Investigators say they located the receipt for the items, which was signed, "Erik Arceneaux." Records show that Jimenez-Rodriguez's phone was at the same location, but she was not seen on surveillance video.
Police say they detected blood on the ceiling and walls when they searched Arceneaux's home.
Arceneaux was charged in August, but authorities haven't been able to locate him.
Arceneaux pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2011 after he held a gun to the head of a woman he was dating and threatened to kill her.
Police don't believe Jimenez-Rodriguez is alive, but her body hasn't been found.