The search for a man who went missing in Tijuana in 2020 took a tragic, final turn when his body was found in the city. Telemundo 20 spoke with the victim’s mother, who said she never lost hope in finding her son.
To prevent any impact on the ongoing investigation, details on how or where the body of Miguel Anthony Rendon was found cannot be shared at this time.
The victim was an American who was kidnapped in May 2020 while he was trying to visit his mother. Two years later, his body was transported from Tijuana to San Diego in a cardboard box.
“It’s a gift no one wants to receive”
“It was a day after my birthday,” said Emma Carolina Medrano Gallardo, Rendon’s mother, in between sobs. “It’s like he was saying to me, ‘I’m here, and here’s your present.’ It was like, ‘Here is your gift, you got it. I’m here for your birthday.’ It was a gift that no one wants to receive.”
Rendon was kidnapped from the Motel Parador in Tijuana, according to his mother. She said she was extorted for money and paid a ransom for his safe return.
Regardless, the criminals did not complete their end of the bargain and Medrano never heard from them again. Their lack of communication and failure to return her son prompted the mother to create a search group in Baja California.
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The group’s searches were conducted on vacant lots and on the outskirts of border towns Tijuana and Tecate.
FBI investigates disappearance
Medrano’s efforts delivered no results until the FBI got involved in the case. Just days ago, they confirmed her worst fears.
“They notified me that they found a body that seemed to be my son’s,” she recalled.
On Friday, the authorities transported Rendon’s remains to San Diego.
“Seeing him packed in a box was really hard,” Medrano said in tears. “I don’t know how to describe that moment.”
Medrano added that while she is devastated that her son was found dead, she is still grateful he was found at all.
"At the same time, I was feeling relief that he was here with me and not out there like other missing people," she said. "Other people, they never get to know what happened to their relative or their kids, so I was feeling very blessed that it was him in the box.”
She also said she finds comfort in the memory of her son, which will help her cope with the immense pain of his death.
“Remembering how he was restless makes me really happy,” she said. “It gives me a sense of relief and peace.”
Medrano's family has created a GoFundMe account to help with funeral costs.
This article was originally reported by Telemundo 20.