Everman City Council members passed a resolution to name a new playground after 6-year-old Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez — the local boy who went missing last fall and is presumed dead — the city announced Wednesday.
Council members decided to omit the boy’s mother’s name and instead include Noel’s middle name, Angel. The space will be called the Noel Angel Alvarez Playground.
“These past two months have been full of emotion, confusion, and anger,” Everman Mayor Ray Richardson said in a news release Friday after announcing plans to name the playground in honor of Noel.
Noel was first reported missing in March, when Texas Child Protective Services received an anonymous tip that the boy hadn’t been seen since at least November. An Amber Alert was issued March 25.
Police obtained warrants to charge Noel’s mother and stepfather with endangering and abandoning a child, and authorities said they are trying to extradite the couple from India, where they fled with six other children days before the Amber Alert was issued. Warrants for Noel’s mother and stepfather have been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to police.
“Our community is small and closely knit. Our town has rallied behind little Noel since we learned of his disappearance. Regardless of the final outcome of this investigation, there is absolutely no doubt that Noel has touched the lives of so many,” Richardson said.
Police and volunteers conducted large-scale searches of several sites in Everman in April, but Noel’s remains have not been found. Search sites were chosen based on analyzed data, including records seized from the home and phone data connected to the mother and stepfather, police said.
“This past year, the City of Everman was awarded funding through Tarrant County that would be allocated for the expansion of Pittman Park and the construction of an all-new Inclusive Playground. We are so incredibly thankful to our amazing partners at Tarrant County for supporting this project,” Richardson said. “This playground is designed to be inclusive of all ages and abilities, with specialized equipment for children who experience physical, social, developmental, and sensory challenges. This playground is for all children, especially those just like Noel.”
Noel had disabilities including numerous physical and developmental challenges, police have said. He was diagnosed with a chronic lung disease that required regular visits with his doctor.
According to Noel’s relatives, he was abused by his mother, Cindy-Rodriguez Singh. She made concerning comments about him and assaulted him, family members told police. During a visit at her brother’s home, Rodriguez-Singh told a relative not to give Noel any water because she did not want to clean up after him if he had a dirty diaper, according to a search warrant. A relative also witnessed Rodriguez-Singh hitting Noel with her car keys attached to a lanyard, the warrant said.
Everman police said Friday that there on no substantial updates on the case but “rest assured that investigators are continuing their efforts and we will not give up.”
The Everman city manager shared Wednesday that the contractor and partners wanted to contribute more to the construction of the playground after hearing that it was being dedicated in Noel’s honor.
“These organizations have stepped up and are donating more than $47,000 worth of upgrades to this playground, specifically for Noel,” said Everman city officials.
The playground will feature special signage to include the story of Noel. Construction of the playground is expected to take place in the summer and it will open in the early fall, according to city officials.
“We cannot think of a more fitting way to honor the impact that Noel has made on this community, and so many more across our state and country,” Richardson said. “Furthermore, this park will stand as a testament that there is absolutely no place in our society for child abuse or neglect. Our children are our most valuable resource. We must cherish and support them as they truly are the future.”