Update: The Mysterious Disappearance of Jose ‘Pepe’ Ayala, Manager of Javier’s in Dallas

Illustration by Richard Mia.

Jose “Pepe” Ayala, the popular manager of Javier’s in Dallas disappeared on April 20, 2010. I didn’t know about it until May 3rd when I read this post on The Advocate.

I relayed the information to SideDish readers.  After a week or so, I started searching news outlets for  updates. I found nothing except a post on the Dallas Morning News’ Crime Blog. No investigative story; no notice of a reward for information concerning Jose “Pepe” Ayala’s disappearance anywhere.

The whole situation didn’t make sense. I sat down with my editor Tim Rogers. Together we did a cursory search for Ayala on Public Data and found Ayala had been arrested eight times for driving while intoxicated. The last arrest was Friday morning, April 16. Ayala was reported missing on April 20. We called Thomas Korosec to investigate. His story is in the July issue of D Magazine.

When news broke in early May that Jose “Pepe” Ayala had vanished, something didn’t add up. The beloved general manager of Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano had been missing since April 20, when he didn’t show up for work, the first such absence in his 30 years at the Knox-Henderson restaurant.

His daughter, Carmen Ayala-Heritage, told NBC Channel 5 she was so worried that she couldn’t eat or sleep. Her 56-year-old father had dropped out of sight, leaving behind his diabetes medicine, his car keys, and his passport. His bank account hadn’t been touched, she said.

The rest is here.