SAN ANTONIO – The family of a 19-year-old who police say was killed by her on- and off-again boyfriend is sharing more about the loving life the victim lived.
Erin Rios Castro started off her Saturday excited about celebrating her birthday with friends later that night, her sister, Ashley Rios, said.
“She was happy. She had flowers everywhere,” Rios said about her visit to Castro's work that morning, where they shared a cake. “She was a beautiful person inside and everyone loved her. Everyone wanted to be around her because of how beautiful she was.”
Castro was one of four siblings, tight-knit with her family and very passionate about rescuing dogs and other pets. She was planning on starting college next year to become a veterinarian.
But her celebration weekend and all her dreams ended tragically just hours after she blew out her birthday candles.
Shortly after midnight Sunday, Castro’s family got a terrifying call from her, saying that she had been stabbed and she didn't know where she was. She died shortly after the call.
Police arrested her on- and off-again boyfriend, Joshua J. Garcia, 20, in connection with her murder.
The arrest warrant said Garcia stabbed Castro, ran her over and kicked her before leaving her on the side of Camp Bullis Road.
“She was stolen. Her soul was stolen. It wasn’t her time,” Rios said. “God wasn’t ready for her.”
Castro’s family said there were problems in the past between Garcia and Castro, but she had a big, forgiving heart.
“Relationships ... are so ugly, and guys say they are going to change, or she blamed herself. There’s no reason to blame yourself,” Rios said.
The family is urging young women in troubled relationships to leave them and stay away.
“If they say they are going to change, they're not. If they ask for forgiveness, forgive them, but don’t let them back in,” Rios said.
Garcia was placed on probation in the spring after pleading no contest to felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Castro’s family is asking people to donate to the animal shelter or the humane society in her honor. Her funeral arrangements are still pending.