Hello friends and family. I am Erin Rios Castro’s Mother and I would like to share my sweet Erin’s tragic story to help spread awareness about teen dating violence, which is a very serious and increasing problem in San Antonio and it’s surrounding areas.
Erin Rios Castro was the youngest of four children, but ruled the house like she was the oldest! She was the spice in our life – without her life is bland. She brought so much joy to all our family and friends. Erin was compassionate and had a contagious laugh that she could not hold in, so silly, so fun to be around. An intelligent young woman, who could do anything she put her mind to. She had dreams and goals for the future. Erin loved all animals and one day she hoped to become a veterinarian.
SHE WAS RADIANT!
I’ll start from the beginning. Erin’s freshman year she befriended a boy, who in the end, murdered her. At first, she was only interested in him as a friend, however the boy did not give up. After constantly pursuing her, by sophomore year of high school they started dating. The relationship was innocent at first, but slowly it started to change. He began to isolate her from her friends, then came the verbal abuse, the name calling and the body shaming. Erin’s confidence, grades, and self-esteem began to drop. My baby slowly started to pull away, even from me. Right before my eyes, my brave, fearless girl changed.
When you think of high school for your children, you think of friendships, homecoming, prom, learning to drive, but not for my Erin. She started having problems with this boy during and after school, his harassment and jealousy consumed her days. He didn’t want her to talk to anyone but him, he even broke the nose of one of her male friends in a rage. Charges were pressed against him. At this point I began documenting and doing everything I could to put his behavior on the record. Unfortunately, he persuaded her to take him back into her good grace. One afternoon, he picked her up, became violent, broke her nose and threw her out of his moving car, running over one of her legs in the process. Only to turn around, put her back in the vehicle so he could attempt to clean her up and cover the bruises he inflicted on Erin, before dropping her off several blocks away from our family home to walk alone, battered and bruised. Erin was scared! At any age, this type of violent abuse is more then anyone knows how to, or should have to, deal with and process. She didn’t know what to do and tried to cover for him. I did not let her, I tried to fight for my daughter. I immediately called the police and pressed charges against him. He received deferred adjudication rather than jail time. Distressingly time went on and this young man did what he did best and manipulated his way back one last time.
It was the morning of her 19th birthday – Erin was so happy! She woke up extra early and sang loudly as she was getting ready for work. Erin worked as a waitress at our family owned diner, where all the customers adored her! As she proudly wore all the birthday tips on a corsage I made her, the customers showered her with birthday wishes and extra love. She glowed as we sang Happy Birthday over her zoo animal cake. She made plans to go out and celebrate with her friends, who all came over to the house to kick-off her birthday night out. I remember hearing the music and her joy filled laughter. She then came into my room and kissed her brother, Jesse and I, said “ Bye! I’ll see you later!” with a huge grin on her face. That was the last time I saw my baby, Erin, alive. Throughout the night we kept in touch with our normal check-ins over texts and phone calls, but at some point in the evening, she ended up in a car, with him. Why would she go near him again? You see, Erin was full of compassion and she thought if she showed someone enough love and forgiveness, they would change. She always tried to see the good in everyone she met. As the evening progressed, Erin’s texts and phone calls became frightening. I told her “Get out of the car and I will pick you up.” I can remember her frantically yelling because she couldn’t get out of the vehicle and had no idea where she was. As I listened on the other end of the line, with my keys in hand - I was out the front door with nowhere to go! Any parent‘s worst nightmare. I heard my daughter's horrible screams on the other end of the line. My heart racing, I ran to the neighbor to call 911, while I kept her on the line, aching to hear her voice again, but her screams were the last thing I would hear from her. The police were able to track her phone, and they found my baby’s body left in a ditch off Camp Bullis Road. This young man stabbed her, then deliberately ran her over, not once, but twice . Later I found out these appalling acts of violence were witnessed and not stopped. Not one call to the police or EMS.
I recently came across a article written in the San Antonio Current, with the headline “Bexar Named One of the Deadliest Counties in Texas for Domestic Violence”. According to this article in the past few years, the number of women killed by a domestic partner in Bexar County has more than doubled; and is steadily rising. I truly believe that through awareness, education and commu niy outreach we can make a change. As a community, we must commit to making a change.