Two were sent to prison for the death of a 5-year-old boy, though both had different accounts of what happened to him.
And though both were convicted, more than two decades later it's unclear what actually happened to the child — or if he is in fact dead.
That's because a body was never found. Nicholas Plaza, of San Antonio, Texas, who would be 26 years old today, was last seen Oct. 23, 2001.
His mother, Priscilla Plaza, would later plead guilty to injury to a child by omission and be sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, she has long said she doesn't know what happened to her son, who had some serious ailments before going missing, according to KSAT.
Ruben Zavala Jr., Priscilla Plaza's boyfriend at the time, was found guilty of serious bodily injury, in part because his girlfriend testified against him, saying that he caused such great injury to the boy that he could no longer walk, according to News 4 San Antonio. He was sentenced to 67 years in prison.
Priscilla Plaza told a jury that she and her son were living with Zavala, who she said injured her son many times, News 4 reported. According to KSAT, Zavala told police that he and Priscilla Plaza were responsible for the child's death and that he placed the boy in a garbage bin.
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Police searched the area around the garbage bin mentioned and found nothing, according to KSAT.
Robert Lowery, Vice President of the Missing Children’s Division for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told News 4 that he's not giving up hope that Nicholas Plaza is alive since no body has been recovered.
“We’re very very desperate to find him,“ he said.
Lowery said some tips have been given to the San Antonio Police Department. The missing kids agency has an age-progressed photo up in case someone comes in contact with Nicholas Plaza.
“We have to continue that search, we have to keep that report open, and we have to keep asking for the public’s help until he’s been found, “ Lowery told News 4.
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