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'It's a jigsaw puzzle': Everman police chief gives new insight in search for 6-year-old boy

Everman Police Chief Craig Spencer sat down with WFAA to discuss 6-year-old Noel's case, its challenges and the key to solving the case.

EVERMAN, Texas — New videos of 6-year-old Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez show a smiling boy who giggled endlessly.

Noel’s foster mother, Patricia Paris, filmed the giggly child when she cared for him for a little more than a year. Off camera Wednesday, Paris told WFAA Noel was a “sweet, playful child” she deeply cared for.

Paris said she is devastated by what may have happened to Noel and wants justice for the boy.

In a one-on-one interview with WFAA Wednesday, Everman Police Chief Craig Spencer gave an update on the case, which is now a death investigation.

“We need to find him. We really do,” Spencer said

Spencer, who leads a small department of 18 officers, described the work that has gone into the case. In addition to serving as the police department’s chief, Spencer is the city manager of the small town of just under 6,000 people.

Spencer said for nearly a month, he and investigators have spent long hours trying to search for clues that could lead them to the boy.

“This is an incredible case. This isn’t something I think any of us would’ve expected,” Spencer said. "It’s just been one of those cases when you think you’ve figured it out, you get thrown another curveball on it."  

Investigators on the case often work late into the night, and often, the work goes home with them during off-hours, Spencer said.

“It’s a jigsaw puzzle. It’s been really challenging. I think the most difficult part of it is there’s so many bits of information in so many places. This whole case is about finding the needle in the haystack, really,” Spencer said. “It doesn’t feel like it has stopped.” 

Investigators have ruled out the possibility of the child being with another relative, trafficked or sold. 

Despite challenges and citing a lack of physical evidence, Spencer said they are closer to finding Noel’s body today than they were last week.

This week, new information led investigators to believe human remains were present at some point in a makeshift shed near the property where his family once lived.

After investigators excavated a concrete shed in the backyard of the Wisteria Drive home, cadaver dogs alerted to certain topsoil areas, including a piece of carpet Noel’s stepfather, Arshdeep Singh, allegedly dumped the night before Noel’s immediate family flew out of the country.

Police said nothing forensic was found and they couldn't indicate specifically whether Noel’s remains were potentially there at one point.

“The search that we did the other day back at the home where the dogs detected the human remains, that was a solidifying point for us,” Spencer said. “We have multiple dogs alerting to the carpet, where the patio is now. It puts our mind at ease that we’re on the right path, and we’re going in the right direction, so we’re gonna keep pursuing that.”

Police have obtained some data through various search warrants, but not all of it, Spencer said. 

Soon-to-come data from laptops, cellphones, and other mobile devices belonging to Noel’s mother, Cindy Rodriguez-Singh and his stepfather could be the key in finding the child’s body.

“It’s finding that one small piece of evidence that’s really gonna lead us there,” Spencer said. “I would imagine wherever this is, it’s an area that they would’ve felt comfortable with and protected in.”  

When asked if data collected so far in the investigation has allowed them to pinpoint a specific location, Spencer declined to give information, citing the need to protect the investigation. 

Police and volunteers with TEXSAR are expected to begin more searches this Friday, and the searches will likely continue through the weekend, Spencer said. 

Spencer said new data will lead them to pinpoint specific search areas in order to make the best use of their resources.  

“Finding him is gonna reveal a lot more to this case and give us the answers that we’ve been looking for," Spencer said. “Finding out how he died, was there any trauma, did he die from neglect or abuse?”

Spencer, a father of three children, said he feels a deep connection with the case, especially when he thinks about the physical and developmental disabilities Noel suffered from. Spencer said the case is unlike any other he’s ever taken on in the past.

“This child is exceptionally different. He had so many natural struggles already, health challenges, and it seems like there would’ve been more options, better opportunities for him," Spencer said. "It’s about seeking justice for Noel.” 

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