INDIO, Calif. - A former Shadow Hills High School teacher who recently moved to Winchester hasn't been heard from since Tuesday morning. Now his family is talking to KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 about his unusual disappearance.
"He's unbelievable. An unbelievable person and this has caused such heartache for our family, and we just need him to come home," said Lynette Vazquez, the niece of Alfredo Rodriguez, now missing since Tuesday. He left his home on foot, without his wallet, cell phone, or keys.
Vazquez says Rodriguez was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, long sleeve grey TTshirt and black shorts.
Officials and volunteers are searching for Rodriguez in the Winchester area.
"We have had the bloodhounds go out. They've come and the dogs traced a scent of my uncle and the bloodhounds were able to take the scent only as far as to a field and then they lost the scent," Vazquez said.
Family members shared a video of the area his scent was tracked to, but Vazquez believes he may have come back to the Coachella Valley.
"He loved it here so much. He hated to leave. If he made it back here, we're just asking the community to keep an eye out for him. Keep the social media sharing app to let everyone know. We just need him to come home," Vazquez said.
Rodriguez and his family lived in Indio for more than 15 years before making the move to Winchester. He was a teacher at Cahuilla Desert Academy and Shadow Hills High School. His former colleagues are confident Rodriguez didn't plan this.
"He had a great rapport with the students and all the staff here. We were more than co-workers, we were a family and we see his family as our extended family. And this is totally out of his norm. It's not something he would do. That's why it's such a big shock. Anybody who knows him, knows this is not him. This is not something he would do," said Rachel Ortiz, a former co-worker.
His family believes a newly prescribed medication is to blame.
"We strongly believe that it is a result of an adverse affect to the medication he was prescribed. Nothing other than that. There is no reason this man would leave his life, his beautiful life, none, none," Vazquez said.
His family is concerned for his safety and well-being as he recently has become mentally despondent and showing signs of diminished capacity and confusion, authorities said in a release.