Woman fears human remains in Harlingen are missing daughter

HARLINGEN — A Corpus Christi woman wants to know whether a person who tipped her off about a murder suspect’s arrest can give her information that could lead to her missing daughter.

Rosie Loera says she received an anonymous tip with details about the Feb. 7 arrest of Anthony Eliff III, 44, before police found human remains last Tuesday in a brush-covered area off the 1200 block of Business 77 in San Benito.

Loera said the tip didn’t include information about the partially exposed skeletal remains investigators believe could be about three to four months old.

“Whoever it is has knowledge of certain information,” Loera said, referring to the anonymous tipster during a telephone interview Friday. “They know specific stuff.”

Harlingen police Commander David Osborne says he’s investigating whether the remains could be those of Loera’s daughter, Elyn Loera, 32, of Corpus Christi, but hasn’t said whether Eliff is connected to her disappearance.

“I’m hoping it’s not my daughter,” Loera, a home health provider, said. “I picture the worst scenario to be prepared for what could come out of this.”

For months, Loera has searched for her daughter, who boarded a bus to Harlingen to visit Eliff Sept. 12.

“He called her and told her to meet him because he was there,” she said.

Now, she’s asking the tipster for information that could lead to her daughter.

“I don’t care who it’s coming from. Their identity is of no concern to me,” Loera said. “I just want information to find my daughter. I’m grateful for that. All I want is my daughter found. I want the truth.”

Loera keeps in regular contact with police.

“Nobody officially has told me that’s my daughter,” she said. “They’re still working on who it is. It’s still under investigation. They haven’t come up with evidence yet that it’s my daughter. They’re doing what they can with what they’ve got.”

Now, she’s hoping forensic lab tests can help determine the identity of the person to whom the remains belong.

“I want them to be 100 percent sure that that body is my daughter,” she said. “I want definite proof that those bones are my daughter.”

At the Harlingen police station, Sgt. Larry Moore said investigators are sending the remains to the University of North Texas’ forensics lab.

“Basically, the lab tests will tell us if it was male or female,” he said..

Experts are expected to try to use DNA tests to help determine the person’s identity.

“It won’t identify the person unless there’s DNA already on file to compare it with,” Moore said. “You can get DNA off of hair … if there’s a viable match.”

Moore said some test results could take about six months to receive.

Police arrested Eliff in connection with a separate death. A judge charged him with the murder of Guillermo Garcia, 41, who was found Sept. 6 in a parked car with a gunshot to his chest in the 3300 block of Adams Landing in Harlingen.

The judge set Eliff’s bail at $1.9 million for the murder charge and $40,000 for a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

“She was afraid of him,” Loera said about Eliff. “She would tell me she was afraid of him.”

After her daughter took a bus to Harlingen to meet Eliff, she reported her disappearance to the Corpus Christi Police Department, which referred her to Harlingen police, she said.

The police department, she said, told her officers needed a physical address to search for her daughter.

But she said her daughter wouldn’t tell her where she was staying.

Loera described her daughter as a mother of five children who had suffered a “nervous breakdown” after breaking up with her husband.

A couple of months before her disappearance, she said, her daughter met Eliff, later staying in his apartment.

On Feb. 10, a CrimeStoppers tip led investigators to a brush-covered area next to a strip mall in the 1200 block of West Business 77 in San Benito.

By noon the next day, investigators found partially exposed human remains which appeared to have been there for three to four months, Osborne said.