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Author Topic: San Antonio TX mom Elyse Marsyl Colon held in killing of sons, ages 1 and 3 yrs  (Read 5253 times)
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« on: February 03, 2010, 01:22:24 PM »

San Antonio mom held in killing of sons, ages 1, 3
February 3, 2010

SAN ANTONIO — A 911 call led police to a home where officers found the bodies of two young boys whose mother was jailed Wednesday on charges of killing them.

Police Chief William McManus said the brothers, ages 1 and 3, had been stabbed.

The woman, 22, told officers "I just killed my babies" and she extended her arms to be handcuffed, appearing to be calm, according to McManus.

Bexar County Detention Center electronic records show that a woman whose address was on the same block as the home where the boys were found slain was in custody Wednesday facing two counts of capital murder of a child.

Police received an emergency call from the home around 5 p.m. Tuesday and discovered the boys, dressed and next to each other, on a bed, McManus said.

The children "looked like they were sleeping," the police chief said.

Police made previous calls to the home for family violence, records show. The father was in custody on an immigration-related charge, McManus said.

Neighbor Betty Estrada, 48, said she saw the woman standing with police late Tuesday and noticed blood on her arms.

"All the neighbors would have helped her if she would have asked, if we would have known," Estrada said. "It's just so sad."

Another neighbor, Angelica Puentes, 34, said she had talked to the woman a couple of times and said she seemed like she was in a daze. The children appeared to be "normal, happy boys," Puentes said.

« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 12:37:44 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 01:26:45 PM »

Web Posted: 02/03/2010 11:20 CST
Kids allegedly killed by mom ID'd

(Slide show available in article)

Elyse Marsyl Colon

By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A woman stood outside her North Side home Tuesday afternoon and met police by holding out her hands and saying, “I killed my babies.”

Elyse Marsyl Colon was held at the Bexar County Jail on two counts of capital murder in connection with the death of her children, 7-month-old Guillermo Garcia and 3-year-old Jose Luis Garcia, police said. Her bonds totaled $2 million.

According to a police incident report, officers were called to Colon's home in the 100 block of Weizmann Street, near Basse and Blanco roads, at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Upon arrival, a pair of officers encountered Colon at the gate.

“I asked (her), ‘What are we doing here?'” the report stated, and Colon put her hands behind her back. The officer asked again what happened, and Colon reportedly said, “I killed my babies.”

Police Chief William McManus said Colon, 22, was calm as she allowed herself to be handcuffed.

McManus said police then had to force their way into the house because the door had been locked.

Once inside, they found her two sons dead. The boys were dressed and lying on their backs in a bed, shoulder to shoulder, the chief said.

“It looked like they were sleeping,” he said.

McManus said the children may have been killed up to eight hours earlier.

“This is just unspeakable tragedy,” he said, adding that officers also were confronted with the smell of gas once inside the house because the home's oven had been left on.

The children's mother was taken into custody and questioned at police headquarters.

After her arrest, as she was being escorted from police headquarters to the magistrate for arraignment, the woman told reporters: “You all need to (expletive) off.”

She had at least three small tattoos on the insides of her arms, including the names Elyse García and Luis.

Authorities believe it was Colon who called police.

McManus said it wasn't a bloody scene, and he added that it was unclear if there were multiple stab wounds to the bodies.

He said there had been previous calls to the home for family violence, but not child abuse.

He also said the boys' father was jailed for being an undocumented immigrant, but he didn't have further details.

A review of public records showed that in October, Colon applied for a protective order against a man named Luis A. Garcia-Pacheco, who was also listed as living at the address where the crime occurred.

Crime records showed that Garcia-Pacheco was arrested in 2009 for assault bodily injury-family violence and again for assault-family violence, 2nd offense.

He was arrested for illegal entry last year as well, public records showed.

Betty Estrada, 48, lives across the street and said she was returning from dinner when she saw the commotion. Estrada said she saw Colon standing with police and noticed that there appeared to be blood on her arms.

Then, she said, she saw the grandmother of the boys arrive at the house.

“She was crying so hard and screaming, ‘My babies, my babies,'” Estrada said.

Estrada walked over to her, gave her a hug and asked if she could help. The grandmother thanked her but said she was waiting for her sister.

Neighbors said the boys' mother mostly kept to herself, but when she did venture out with her children, she would carry the youngest. Several neighbors said Colon appeared “out of it.”

Angelica Puentes, 34, a mother of five, said she spoke with the woman a couple of times and said she seemed like she was in a daze. The children, however, appeared to be “normal, happy boys.”

Puentes said she saw police at the address more than once but never thought something like this could happen.

She said she saw the woman standing in the driveway before police took her away.

“She wasn't crying or anything,” she said. “She seemed completely calm.”

Puentes said it was terrible that something like this has to happen when there are programs available to help parents in need.

McManus echoed those sentiments.

“There are people here to help,” McManus said. “There are resources available and we urge anyone having trouble to find the people who are there to help.”

Around 10 p.m., a white minivan pulled up to the driveway of the home, and the bodies of the boys were removed.

The boys' deaths marked the first two slayings of children in San Antonio this year.

Last year, police handled five murder cases involving children, one more than in 2008.

The last time two young siblings were killed by a parent in San Antonio was in March 2007, when Sariyah Garcia, 14 months, and Sebastian Lopez, 4 months, were discovered wrapped in trash bags under their home.

The infant's mother, Valerie Lopez, 22, and her boyfriend, Jerry Salazar, 30, were both charged in the deaths.



Staff writer Eva Ruth Moravec contributed to this report.



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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 01:30:45 PM »
(Video Available in Article)

Children fatally stabbed by their mother
   Reported by: Demond Fernandez

« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 12:38:52 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 10:14:32 PM »

Family, friends in shock over childrens' deaths

February 3, 2010

   By Eva Ruth Moravec and Michelle Mondo
- Express-News

A Child Protective Services caseworker visited the home of Elyse Marsyl Colon the day before she allegedly stabbed to death her two young sons and had found nothing amiss.

It was a routine visit that began with Colon hugging the caseworker, welcoming her into her North Side home and thanking her for being there, said Mary Walker, a CPS spokeswoman.

“Nothing,” Walker said. “There was absolutely nothing that would indicate that this mother would go out and hurt her children.”

It made hearing the news of the double homicide all the more shocking, Walker said.

Authorities said Colon, 22, stabbed her boys to death Tuesday, then stood outside her home in the 100 block of Weizmann Street and met police by holding out her hands and saying, “I killed my babies.”

Inside the patrol car, Colon said, “Their father is in jail. I want him to know.”

Colon remained Wednesday in Bexar County Jail on two counts of capital murder in the deaths of her children, Guillermo Garcia, 19 months, and Jose Luis Garcia, 3. Her bonds totaled $2 million.

Bexar County spokeswoman Linda Tomasini said the children's father Luis A. Garcia-Pacheco found out about the slayings around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. A clergy man and a nun told him about the deaths, which the Bexar County medical examiner's office said were caused by “multiple sharp force injuries.”

He was “very distraught and emotional,” Tomasini said.

A longtime family friend of Colon said other relatives also were in shock. Attempts to reach the family were not successful Wednesday. Relatives did not return calls nor did anyone answer the door at Colon's mother's house.

Martha Arkeen, 82, said she spoke with Colon's aunt Wednesday morning.

“They don't know what happened to Elyse, they thought she had just snapped,” said Arkeen, who has known Colon's mother since childhood. “But I don't know what could have caused her to murder those sweet little children.”

The slayings also moved some San Antonio residents to respond by visiting the fenced rental property.

Birdie Zuniga, 47 and her son, Tom Cruz Zuniga, 22, brought three teddy bears as a tribute to the boys, whom they never met. Wearing hoods to protect them from the noon downpour, they waded through the rain's runoff, walked to a tree, set down the bears and prayed.

Birdie Zuniga cried as she walked away.

The three bears, wrapped in plastic to protect them from rain, were later moved to a fence closer to the home. There was no other indication of what had happened inside the powder-blue home that sits behind another house.

Police Chief William McManus said it wasn't a bloody scene when officers arrived Tuesday afternoon, responding to a reported cutting. Colon was nonchalant as one officer placed her in handcuffs while the other kicked in the home's locked front door, police said.

Once inside, police discovered the two boys lying on the bed, shoulder to shoulder, McManus said.

Authorities said the parent's history was fraught with domestic violence.

In 2009, police were called to the house nine times, according to police records. On two of those occasions — on May 23 and Sept. 30, Garcia-Pacheco was arrested on a family violence charge.

It was because of the family violence that CPS began working with Colon in May, after someone — whose name wasn't disclosed — called the agency, Walker said.

She said Colon admitted to a history of violence between her and the boys' father.

“The children were not hurt but (the investigation) did find they were physically neglected because they were in the middle of all this,” Walker said.

She said the case was transferred in August to the Family Safety Services division which provides services to strengthen families and “give the mom the tools to keep the kids protected.”

The May referral was the third the agency had received in as many years, Walker said. The others were for allegations of drug abuse, but Colon and her sons all tested negative for any illegal drug use, according to Walker.

The boys' father has been jailed since his September arrest. Authorities said at that time Garcia-Pacheco also was charged with illegal entry and was placed on a federal detainer.

In October, Colon applied for a protective order for herself and her two sons. The order was agreed upon on Nov. 5 to last for two years, according to court documents.

She was working at keeping her family together and was also trying to find a job, Walker said.

“We're still reviewing the case because we want to make sure we did solid casework,” she said. “It appears preliminarily that we did all we could do to keep something like this from happening.”

Arkeen said Colon just didn't seem capable of the crime she told police she committed.

“Elyse was always so sweet, soft-spoken and quiet,” she said, adding she seemed like a good mother. “I just don't understand how this could happen. Those poor little innocent angels.”
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 12:39:32 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 12:34:19 PM »

CPS never deemed Colon a threat to her 2 boys

Web Posted: 02/07/2010 12:00 CST

Jose Luis Garcia, 3 (left), and Guillermo Garcia, 19 months, during a visit with Santa Claus.

   By Peter J. Holley   - Express-News

If any threat existed against the two small boys living with their parents in a weathered North Side house, officials said, it was their father.

Authorities had responded to the home on Weizmann Street, near Blanco Road, six times in six months for reports of domestic violence.

In late September, the tension appeared to escalate, with three 911 calls made in four days, police records show, culminating with the arrest of the father, Luis Garcia-Pacheco.

With his Sept. 30 arrest on a battery charge, the apparent threat was removed — or so thought a Child Protective Services caseworker, who had visited the home seven times that month.

Through last Monday, the caseworker made 26 other scheduled and unscheduled visits and became increasingly confident that the boys' mother, Elyse Marsyl Colon, was becoming a better parent, a CPS official said.

But the day after the caseworker's final visit last week, the young brothers were stabbed to death. Police said Colon, 22, met officers outside the house Tuesday and held out her hands, saying: “I just killed my babies.”

Colon was charged with two counts of capital murder and remains jailed in lieu of posting $2 million bail. The slayings of Guillermo Garcia, 19 months, and Jose Luis Garcia, 3, marked the first child killings this year in San Antonio.

Authorities on Saturday said the disappearance of 9-month-old Gabriel Johnson now is being investigated as a homicide. His mother, who last was seen with her son in San Antonio, remains jailed in Arizona.

Last year, five children were killed in San Antonio, allegedly by their caregivers.

Authorities have released few other details about last week's killings of Guillermo and Jose Luis, including a possible motive.

District Attorney Susan Reed, though, said there is more to the case than has been made public.

“Drugs are a very big part of why people do things like this,” Reed said by phone. “We may learn more about that as this case develops.”

Authorities haven't said whether Colon might have been using drugs at the time of the killings.

Mary Walker, a CPS spokeswoman, said someone reported in 2006 and again in 2008 that Colon was using drugs. But tests were negative, she said.

Colon wasn't tested for drugs during a CPS investigation last summer. Nor was she tested any time after the case was transferred to the agency's Family Based Safety Services Division, Walker said, because no new allegations were made.

Reed called the case “gut-wrenching,” and said she has requested that authorities investigate Colon's state of mind before her sons were killed.

“The fact that she called police to tell them she killed her children indicates she knew what she was doing was wrong,” she said.

A violent father

Walker said Colon's caseworker, who has been with the state agency since June 2008, saw no signs that Colon was violent.

In fact, Walker said, since Colon began working with CPS last summer, she had been receptive to the agency's services, which included the teaching of basic parenting skills, help with the $650 monthly rent and lessons on keeping her children clean.

Walker said the caseworker, whom she wouldn't identify, visited Colon about twice a week, on average, to keep tabs on her progress. With what appeared to be strong family support and a seeming willingness to work with CPS, Walker said the agency saw no reason to remove the children from the home.

“These aren't heartless, uncaring folks,” Walker said, referring to caseworkers.

In Colon's final visit with her caseworker, who was juggling seven other cases, Colon talked about her children's new haircut. There was no indication, Walker said, that the boys were in trouble.

One local child abuse expert said that even though warning signs are foggy, domestic violence in a household significantly increases the risk of physical abuse of children.

“The fact that you have domestic violence in a household means you have one or more individuals who are willing to take out their frustrations physically,” said Dr. Nancy Kellogg, a pediatrics professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

But domestic violence isn't enough to remove children from a house, Walker said. The agency's investigation found no evidence of physical abuse against Colon's children, concluding instead that their proximity to domestic violence had left them physically neglected.

“At the time of the children's death, there was no safety plan in place for the mother,” Walker said. “The father posed no further risk because he had been incarcerated.”

CPS began working with Colon in May after she admitted to being in a violent relationship with Garcia-Pacheco.

Three months later, the case was transferred to the Family Based Safety Services division, which offers help to parents and advice on how best to protect their children.

A month after being enrolled, Walker said the caseworker learned Garcia-Pacheco was accused of physically and sexually assaulting Colon. In October, Colon applied for a protective order for herself and the boys. The two-year order was agreed upon on Nov. 5, according to court documents.

Garcia-Pacheco has been jailed since his September arrest. Authorities said he also has been charged with entering the country illegally and is being held on a federal detainer.

Concerns about mom

Aside from CPS, staff members at Brighton, a nonprofit that helps educate children with learning disabilities, began working with Colon and her youngest son late last year.

“From their initial visit, there was some concern about the mom's ability to understand what they were talking about and what was going on so we contacted the CPS caseworker who was already working with the family,” Brighton Director Kim Jeffries said.

Jefferies said her staff raised concerns with CPS about Colon's apparent inattention to her child, her inability to take instruction and what appeared to be bruising on the boy's arm.

Walker said CPS investigated the bruising complaint but found no indication of child abuse. There was, however, a rash on the child. Because of that, Colon was given additional instructions to help her focus on hygiene and keeping her home and children clean.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, whose work with the multiagency Blue Ribbon Task Force seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect in the city, said last week's killings have forced public officials to consider what could have been done differently.

“I think the city has been in denial,” Uresti said. “We can't imagine how somebody could do this. But we need to move from shock to action. We can't give up. There still needs to be awareness.”

And, he said, last week's case is another opportunity to improve CPS, which in recent years has struggled with high turnover and overtaxed caseworkers.

“They need more on-the-job training so they can have the experience to know when somebody is pulling their leg,” he said. “That comes with being a seasoned caseworker.”

The caseworker assigned to Colon was especially attentive, Walker said.

The month after Garcia-Pacheco was jailed, the caseworker visited Colon eight times. She visited six times in November and seven more in December.

In Colon's case, things seemed to be improving, Walker said.

Brighton's director agreed, as the staff last met with Colon and the CPS caseworker in late January.

“That last visit they had was all very positive and the mom showed a different interaction” with her son, Jefferies said.

Walker said Colon was receptive, even taking the agency's suggestion that she and her children stay with her mother, who lives about a mile away and who could help monitor and care for the boys.

“The children's mother did so, remaining there through the final visit by the worker,” Walker said.

Relatives of Colon haven't responded to repeated requests for interviews. Last week, they released a statement thanking the community for its prayers.

“With broken spirits and shattered hearts we are humbled and so very grateful for your thoughts and prayers,” the statement said. “Thank you for giving us strength. Please know that we are certain that our angels ... are in the arms of Jesus. Please know that nothing will ever fill the void this tragedy has caused.”

On the night of the final CPS visit, hours before police said the boys were fatally stabbed, neighbors of her mother said Colon ate dinner with her family. If she followed her typical routine, she put her children in their stroller and went for a walk around the block afterward, saying hello to neighbors who had known her all her life.

Until she was accused of killing her children, these neighbors were the people who thought they knew her best.

“She was a sweetheart and I never saw her angry,” said Martha Arkene, a family friend. “She just snapped the wrong way.”

Staff Writers Michelle Mondo and Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje contributed to this report.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 12:40:08 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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