Devine woman's abduction, death reminder of domestic violence dangers

Jessica Sanchez had emergency protective order against ex accused of kidnapping

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Joe Herrera - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Like many Medina County residents, Elda Garcia was saddened to hear of Jessica Sanchez's kidnapping and discovery of her body on Tuesday alongside that of her ex-boyfriend and suspected kidnapper, Jorge Jaramillo.

But the executive director of Southwest Family Life Centers, Inc., which serves survivors of domestic and family violence, also recognized what sounded like a familiar story. 

"They feel safe because they've got this piece of paper and then, they still get harassed," Garcia said. 

Police said Jaramillo took Sanchez from her Devine home at gunpoint on June 30. Just a month earlier, on Memorial Day, police said Jaramillo was arrested for holding a knife to Sanchez's neck and threatened her life. 

A magistrate's emergency protective order was granted against Jaramillo after that incident, which was supposed to prevent him from contacting Sanchez or going near her home for 90 days. 

Sanchez's family said she broke things off with Jaramillo after the assault.

The judge who signed the EPO said the orders can't protect victims on their own. It's up to that person to report any violations of the order to police.

"There's not an alarm that's going to go off. There's nothing at the house or nothing on the person that says, 'Hey, I might be in danger or have a problem,'" Klaus said.

But Sanchez didn't have that chance. Her family said she and her daughters were sleeping that Sunday morning when Jaramillo came through a window, armed with a gun. 

Her abduction wasn't discovered until Devine police said they learned Jaramillo had been dropped off, possibly armed, near Sanchez's home and an officer went to check on her. By that point, Sanchez and Jaramillo were gone, along with her vehicle.

Garcia said it sounds like police did all they could short of parking a patrol unit outside of Sanchez's house to guard her, which isn't really feasible.

"I mean, if every victim were to do that, we wouldn't have any law enforcement patrolling the streets," Garcia said.

While going to a shelter is another option, Garcia said that's not fool-proof either. 

Garcia said no matter what steps are or aren't taken, it's never the victim's fault.

"It just always seems the victim is the one that's always having to be uprooted or to. You know, it's like, 'Why can't it be the other way around?'" she said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of family violence, you can find helpful resources on the Texas Council on Family Violence website.

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