by: Steven Masso
HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The mysterious disappearance of a well-known Harlingen attorney, and the subsequent discovery of his remains years later still has questions to be answered.
Ernesto Gonzales, known as “El Gallito,” went missing in July 2017.
Gonzales had set up a meeting with his sister at his workplace. When he didn’t arrive, his sister contacted authorities, prompting Harlingen police to issue a welfare concern for Gonzales on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Before his disappearance, Gonzales had filed a protective order against several family members, because he feared for his life.
His family quickly knew, Gonzales wasn’t missing, but instead that someone had killed him.
In a previous interview with ValleyCentral, his twin brother Rick Gonzales said that there was no possibility that his brother has just left.
“My brother isn’t missing. He’s deceased,” Rick said at the time of the interview.
Nearly three years after his disappearance, police made a breakthrough on July 23, 2020.
While conducting a search warrant for the case on a two-acre private property that featured a barn with animals in La Feria, police found human remains.
Officials were able to locate the remains using a canine team and a ground-penetrating radar.
Police said that the remains were not found in a shallow grave but rather deep enough beneath the surface that machinery had to be used to recover them.
Through the use of dental records, the remains were confirmed to be Gonzales.
Days after locating the body of Gonzales, police made an arrest.
The primary suspect was identified as Salomon Campos Jr., a nephew of Gonzales.
According to DPS, the property where the remains were found belonged to Campos.
Campos has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, murder and stalking and was given a $1 million bond for murder and a $110,000 bond for the other charges.
Two years after the arrest the case remains at a standstill.
Investigators have not yet determined how Gonzales was murdered.
The trial for Campos was postponed on the onset of the pandemic and officials have not set a date. ValleyCentral reached out to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office who stated that the day for his trial will be coming soon.
For now, Gonzales’ body remains at the University of North Texas for forensic testing.
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