What we’ve learned about parents of Noel, the missing North Texas 6-year-old assumed dead
Noel Rodriguez-Alvarez’s mother and stepfather planned their escape from the U.S. months before authorities even knew the 6-year-old boy was missing, police announced at a news conference Tuesday.
As police in North Texas continue looking for evidence of Noel’s body, searching more than 500 acres, more details about the mother and stepfather have come to light, along with a more in-depth timeline of what happened surrounding the boy’s disappearance. Noel’s mother and stepfather, who police say fled the country three days before an Amber Alert was issued in March, are facing charges including endangerment or abandonment of a child, a second-degree felony.
That flight out of the country was more than a month ago.
Police and federal authorities are currently working to get the mother and stepfather extradited back to the U.S. to face those charges. Noel is presumed dead, according to police, but his remains have not been found and no one has been charged with causing his death.
Noel’s mother, Cindy Rodriguez-Singh, went with six of her children to apply for passports on Nov. 1, shortly after the birth of her twin daughters and after Noel was last seen. The stepfather, Arshdeep Singh, stole $10,000 in cash from his workplace to fund their trip and bought plane tickets to India via a connecting flight in Istanbul, Turkey, according to Everman police, who are leading the investigation.
Singh used his credit card to purchase the plane tickets, according to police.
According to public records, 37-year-old Rodriguez-Singh graduated high school in Fort Worth in 2003. There was no information immediately available on where she lived before that, but property records indicate she has lived in Tarrant County since her high school graduation.
About 10 years ago, Rodriguez-Singh moved into the home of Charles Parson, an elderly man in Everman, according to Parson. He said she was sleeping in a car outside his house with her children and he invited them to use his two spare bedrooms. It’s not clear whether Rodriguez-Singh was employed.
Rodriguez-Singh had 10 children in total, and the oldest three live with her mother. Rodriguez-Singh’s mother said last month that she wants her daughter to return to the U.S. and tell authorities where to find Noel’s body, adding that if she’d known he was being mistreated or that his mother couldn’t care for him, she would have taken him in.
In 2020, Rodriguez-Singh lost custody of at least some of her children and was put on probation after an incident in which she was drunk and driving a vehicle with her kids in the car, according to court records.
Noel was sent to live with foster parent Patricia Parris, who described Noel as a caring, fun and lovable child.
But based on interviews with witnesses, investigators said Rodriguez-Singh didn’t see him that way. In 2021, Rodriguez-Singh was able to reacquire custody of all her children living with her.
According to police, Noel’s mother told people she thought he was evil, demon possessed and jealous of her newborn twin daughters. She feared Noel, who was physically and developmentally disabled, would hurt the newborns, according to a search warrant affidavit. Relatives told investigators she abused the 6-year-old boy and would refuse to feed Noel or give him anything to drink because she didn’t want to change his diapers.
After she married Singh about two years ago, the family built a shed in Parson’s back yard to expand living space. The shed, essentially one room with curtains to divide part of it, had electricity and air conditioning but no plumbing, so the family still used some rooms in Parson’s house.
Singh, 35, was born in India. It’s unclear exactly when he moved to the U.S.
Parson said Singh always gave the impression of a father figure who wanted to spoil his children. Singh bought them an outdoor play set and trampoline and always made sure they had more clothes than they needed, Parson said.
But police said that appearance wasn’t the whole story. The family “lived in squalor,” Everman Police Chief Craig Spencer said at an April 25 news conference. Authorities now believe Singh conspired with Noel’s mother after the 6-year-old boy went missing, stealing money from his employer to pay for their escape from the country.
Singh worked at a convenience store chain, AGHA Enterprises, and had access to the company’s financial records and even safes in stores.
His employer, Mohammed Khan, told the Star-Telegram that Singh was hired about two and a half years ago to manage purchasing merchandise for stores and help with banking. Like Parson, Khan never would have imagined Singh would be involved in anything criminal. He described Singh as a happy person, and a hard worker who would do anything he could to help the business succeed.
Even in the months since Noel went missing, Khan said he hadn’t noticed or been told about any changes in Singh’s behavior or personality.
“It’s shocking,” Khan said. “I still feel like it’s a Hollywood movie or a bad dream.”
Khan said the actions of Singh, who police have accused of stealing money from the Azle Food Mart location of the business and then falsifying records to cover his tracks, have left his employees in a state of shock, too.
It’s scary, Khan said, to think that someone like Singh would steal money from his employer or be involved in any way with the disappearance of a child. It’s left him feeling like he can never be 100% certain of who someone truly is. He didn’t even know Singh had left the country until he heard about it in the news.
In total, police said Singh stole $10,000 from Khan’s business, and deposited $8,000 of that into his personal bank account. Police said they believe Singh stole that cash so that the family would have money to leave the country. He’s facing second-degree felony theft charges.
The couple also paid $5,000 to have a new patio put in the back yard of Parson’s home in Everman, according to a search warrant for the property. Rodriguez-Singh changed what she wanted several times, telling the contractor at one point she wanted the concrete thicker on one side because it would allow for the family to put a gym there.
Police said Rodriguez-Singh used the family’s full income tax return to pay for the project in February. Investigators last month tore the concrete up in a search for Noel’s remains but found no body there. Authorities believe, though, based on the reaction of cadaver dogs, that Noel’s body might have been kept in a shed that was sitting in the area before the porch was installed.
Police said a carpet Singh disposed of before the couple fled the country was also alerted to by the cadaver dogs. Singh took the carpet to a dumpster outside one of the convenience stores where he worked, according to one of the search warrants.
Police conducted a welfare check at the family’s home in March after Child Protective Services received a tip that Noel was missing. At that time, Rodriguez-Singh lied and said the boy was with his father in Mexico, investigators have said. Police said they have also disproved other stories Cindy told to explain Noel’s disappearance, including that she had sold him to someone in a Fiesta Market grocery store parking lot.