Late on the night of December 20, 12-year-old Alex (not his real name) asked his dad if he could go meet a friend and watch the lunar eclipse from the parking lot of a Med Center oil-change joint. His dad told him no. The West U family was leaving town early the next morning, he told the boy. The kid needed to get his rest.
According to an incident report, Alex went anyway. An hour after their initial conversation, Alex's father found his son's bedspread stuffed with pillows intended to simulate his son's sleeping form. The father called the West U police, and shortly after they arrived, Alex was found nearby walking home and allegedly gave police consent to investigate his cellphone.
Turns out he did go meet a friend at that oil-change joint, but the "friend" allegedly had something less noble than the movement of celestial bodies on his mind...
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The boy told police the friend's name was Rudy. Alex said they had met on Facebook a couple of days before the eclipse and had since exchanged text messages. On the night of the eclipse, Alex is quoted in the report, Rudy had picked him in a red Mustang and taken him to the oil-change place, where they "made out" (as the document puts it) in the car. The boy noticed it was getting late and asked to be taken home, and when he saw the police cars in front of his house, he told Rudy to drop him off down the street.
West U Police looked up Candia's Facebook page on the boy's cellphone and found a picture of a red Mustang that fit resembled the one Alex described riding and making out in. The license plate was visible in the pic, so the cops ran the number, and it was matched to Rudy Candia, a "moderate-risk" registered sex offender convicted in 2000 of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.
Also on the boy's cellphone: texted pictures, allegedly of Candia's penis and rectum.
Candia faces charges of online solicitation of a minor. He is currently on the run.