HOUSTON - Her estranged husband whispered something to her, and Pauline Diaz abruptly clocked out from her shift at H-E-B. Then, she vanished.
"It's been 11 years," laments Paula Martinez, daughter of the San Antonio mother who disappeared around 2:42 p.m. on December 7, 2010.
"A lot of missing cases you see for a while, then you don't see them anymore. I'm not going to do that," says Juanita Diaz, Paula's sister and partner in the hunt for information on what happened to their mother.
Both women have spent the past decade digging into what happened at the H-E-B in San Antonio off Southeast Military Dr. and Goliad Rd. Police soon found their mom's truck, but Pauline was nowhere to be found.
"Everything went black," says Paula, recalling the next day when her sister delivered the news that police could not find their mother. "She was gone. Mom doesn't ever disappear or go anywhere without letting anybody know."
One thing the sisters are sure is true: mom didn't leave on her own.
"Her phone was in her house," points out Paula.
In their decade of investigating their mother's disappearance, Paula and Juanita learned their mother clocked out in such a rush that day she left her work station in disarray. They also learned mom spoke with a woman on her way out of the store.
"It took us, what, eight years to find her? We sleuthed in and found that person," says Paula, but claims no major information came of it.
Eleven years later, they're still searching. "We have gotten leads to where people say they've seen her at a Walmart gas station with a man and gone to that house and turns out wrong identity. That just crushes the hope," says Paula.
They still believe their mother's estranged husband holds the clues.
"She wanted a divorce," Juanita explains. "He wouldn't give it to her. So she moved out to her original home, and he kept stalking her. Following her. Going everywhere she went. He was calling my daughter. But once she went missing, everything stopped. He changed his number, didn't go look for her. Nothing."
That's how their search brought them to Houston. They spoke to FOX 26 at the 2022 Houston Missing Persons Day event, an annual gathering of families supporting each other in their search for a missing loved one.
Juanita says the son of their mother's estranged husband lives in Houston. They believe he might know more about what his father said to their mother that day.
"I want the son to see that this is not going away," says Juanita. "If it was one of us, she would do the same. I will do everything in my power till the day I die to get our answers."
Pauline would have turned 75 this year. She was 4'11" and about 135 pounds with curly gray hair. She was last seen wearing an H-E-B red polo shirt, dark jeans, and black sneakers. Her white Toyota Tacoma has since been found.
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