The mother of longtime “missing” Houston man Rudy Farias is an internet ‘catfish’ who posed as others online to appear more popular and better looking — and once stole the photos of a budding country musician, sources told The Post. 

In the wake of allegations she hid her now 25-year-old son at home for eight years before he miraculously emerged last week, Janie Santana skipped town on Wednesday night and her whereabouts is currently unknown.

However, Santana leaves behind a large digital footprint including a collection of fake Facebook profiles she had allegedly used to scam people, those who had interacted with her online said Friday.

Santana used others’ photos online, including a picture of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed country singer as recently as Wednesday — a far cry from her actual appearance — before it was changed, a local activist known as “Grizzy” told The Post. 

“She created a family of catfish profiles to support her posts because nobody likes her stuff or comments back, so she’s created a lot of fake profiles to circle her,” Grizzy said. “She’s using it for love, for personal gain, for money — whatever she needs it for. She’s a very calculating person.”

Eight years after Rudy Farias was found alive, his cousin, Cassandra Lopez, told KPRC 2 reporter Corley Peel she has more concerns than relief.

Santana lied and hid her adult son to make it seem as though he was missing for eight years, for reasons which are still unclear. The Post understands when she left town she placed Rudy in the care of friends, where he remains.

Police said Thursday that Rudy had actually returned home the day after he went ‘missing’ in 2015 but both he and his mother had lied to investigators, police and their own family about his identity subsequently. 

The Harris County District Attorney’s office has so far declined charges against Santana pending further police investigation, despite her alleged false statements to law enforcement. 

Santana contacted Grizzy after Farias was found safe June 29 because she was getting negative attention online, Grizzy said. 

For the first time we are seeing and hearing from Rudy Farias about where he has been the last 8 years.
For the first time, we are seeing and hearing from Rudy Farias about where he has been the last 8 years.

She and Santana had allegedly spoken for hours in the days since. 

“The first thing she tells me [is], ‘I see a lot of people talking s–t about me on your page,’” Grizzy said. 

“I thought it was odd that that’s the first thing she tells me, instead of, ‘My son is hurting. He’s at the hospital.’ She was more worried about how the media perceived her. She thought with me, that I would tell everybody to lay off of her.”

Grizzy said she met with Santana in person at the hospital where Farias was said to have been receiving medical treatment Wednesday, before Santana’s meeting with police. But Santana was allegedly preoccupied with how her in-person appearance varied from the way she purported to look online. 

Missing person who vanished as a teen found eight years later.
The missing person who vanished as a teen was found eight years later.

“She said, ‘I’m worried. There are a bunch of cameras. I don’t want them recording me,’” Grizzy recalled. “She was very worried about being on camera because she’s posting pictures of herself that are not hers.”

Grizzy soon came to suspect much of what Santana told her were lies. 

Grizzy, who boasts over 561,000 Facebook followers, is among the local activists and community members now calling for charges against the 55-year-old woman.

Court records show it’s not Santana’s first bout with the criminal justice system. 

 The exterior of the house of Rudy Farias and his mother Janie Santana in Houston, Texas.
The exterior of the house of Rudy Farias and his mother Janie Santana in Houston, Texas.
Go Nakamura for NY Post

Santana, who also went by the last name “Uresti,” was charged in 1994 with disorderly conduct with a firearm, a class B misdemeanor at the time. 

A Houston judge gave her a deferred adjudication of guilt in 1995, which would have released her of any charges after nine months of supervision and good behavior, and the case was dismissed the next year, court records show.

Meanwhile, Santana made over $2,000 in GoFundMe donations related to Farias’ bogus disappearance, Newsweek reported. 

Santana was reportedly the beneficiary of a fundraising page that racked $2,025 in donations during a short period after Farias was reported missing. 

Rudy Farias' aunt Sylvia Sanchez Lopez shows an image on her cellphone, she said Houston Police.
Rudy Farias’ aunt Sylvia Sanchez Lopez shows an image on her cellphone.

Farias was 17 when he vanished after leaving his family’s Houston home on March 17, 2015, to walk his two dogs. 

In the eight-plus years since, Santana “continued to deceive police by remaining adamant that Rudy was still missing,” police said Thursday.

“She alleged her ‘nephew’ was the person friends and family were seeing coming and going,” Houston Police Lt. Christopher Zamora added.

Farias also interacted with police over the course of the eight years, but both he and his mother gave fake names or dates of birth, police said.

They also noted Farias was 17 – a legal adult in Texas – at the time of his alleged disappearance.

He was found a little over a week ago slumped outside of a local church. Images of a person believed to be Rudy were caught on the security camera of a nearby restaurant a little before he was found.

The disheveled man with a rough beard had no money and was notable because he wasn’t a regular in the restaurant and wasn’t recognized by staff, who described him to The Post as incoherent. A customer is said to have bought him a meal before he left though.

Houston activist Quanell X claimed Farias told him his mother drugged, tortured and sexually abused him in the time that he was hiding. But police said Farias made no such sexual abuse claims.

Police interviewed Farias and his mother Wednesday, but said they found no probable cause to arrest her.

Police said Thursday Farias was safe and was “with his mother by choice.”

His mother took him hours later to stay with a former co-worker, where he was “comfortable,” Santana’s sister, Pauline Sanchez Rodriguez told The Post. 

“He’s scared. He’s having scared moments right now,” she said, through tears as she recalled her reunion with her nephew, whom she had not seen since 2015. 

“All that matters is his safety,” she said. “He’s comfortable.”

Santana allegedly left her son at home without any extra clothes. And despite the police department’s claims, Sanchez Rodriguez said Farias won’t answer his mother’s calls and told his aunt, “he doesn’t want to see his mom.” 

Sanchez Rodriguez previously blasted her sister as “manipulative” and “greedy,” and told her: “There’s nowhere you can run.” 

“Janine, if you are out there and you’re listening— no matter what, we’re blood,” she said. “Get the help that you need. Come forward and acknowledge that you need help.”