The estranged husband of a missing Pennsylvania mother, who disappeared more than a month ago, is not cooperating with investigators, police have told The Huffington Post.
Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez, a 30-year-old mother of two girls, ages 7 and 11, was reported missing by her husband, Jose Luis Rodriguez, on April 23.
Collingdale Police Chief Robert Adams said that Rodriguez, who initially cooperated, has stopped talking and hired an attorney. The police chief described the case as "very frustrating."
Rodriguez allegedly told police his wife left their Collingdale home on April 19 to spend a weekend with friends in Newark, N.J. He told police she left her vehicle at home and said she was using public transportation for her trip. Rodriguez said he became concerned when she did not pick their children up from school on April 22 and did not show up for a new job.
Authorities contacted Ortiz-Rodriguez's friends in New Jersey and confirmed she was supposed to spend the weekend with them. However, they said she never made it there and they have not heard from her since April 18.
Rodriguez, according to police, has since left Collingdale and has taken his children to New Jersey.
Investigators searched Rodriguez's homes in Collingdale and Ocean Township, N.J. They are also examining a truck Rodriguez uses for his job with Amtrak.
Adams said investigators have also been busy this week re-examining everything in the case.
"We've regrouped and we've retraced our steps from day one," he said. "[We're] still working on some things we picked out yesterday."
Authorities have not named Rodriguez a suspect or person of interest in his wife's disappearance. However, Rodriguez' attorney, Michael Diamondstein, said that is the impression he and his client have.
"Generally speaking, you don't get search warrants for the property of people that you think are witnesses," the attorney told HuffPost.
According to Philly.com, Ortiz-Rodriguez had filed paperwork for a protection-from-abuse order against Rodriguez on Feb. 19. In the petition, she said she had tried to leave their home when he emptied the contents of her suitcase in their front yard, pushed her and broke her cell phone.
During a March 7 hearing, the PFA petition was quashed. According to Diamondstein, his client denied engaging in controlling or abusive behavior, and the application was dismissed.
"I don't have my file directly in front of me, but it was either dismissed by a judge or it was dismissed by her," Diamondstein said.
A copy of the court records regarding the dismissal was not immediately available Wednesday.
PHOTOS OF MELISSA ORTIZ-RODRIQUEZ (Article Continues Below)
Rodriguez's attorney denies his client had anything to do with his wife's disappearance and points the finger at Adams for his client's level of cooperation with police.
"Until the police started treating him as a target and suspect, he was cooperating fully. I don't want to get into a war of words with a small town police chief, but you reap what you sow," Diamondstein said.
He continued, "Only a lawyer who was absent the day they taught law at law school would have a person who is a suspect in an investigation come and give additional statements or have any contact with the police. But we have cooperated legally with everything that they've asked of us."
While Ortiz-Rodriguez's whereabouts remain a mystery, Ortiz-Rodriguez's close friend, Virnalisa Jimenez, said she is hopeful her friend will be found safe soon.
"When things like this happen, people always try to think of the best thing to say about the person, but with her, there is nothing wrong to say. She is loved by so many people and she was a friend to so many people. We just want her back," she said.
Adams made it clear that the police will not give up anytime soon.
"The Collingdale police will not stop looking for Melissa. We owe it to her children and family," he said.
Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez is described as a Hispanic female, 5-foot-5 and 130 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Collingdale police at 610-586-0502 or Delaware County detectives at 610-891-4700.