Woman was on track to become licensed psychologist before boyfriend killed her, friends say

By Patty Santos - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Tania Rendo Santiago had a way of connecting with people, her friends say.

Santiago's friend Kristina Arciniega said that's what drew her to the counseling psychologist. Arciniega said Santiago's personality is what helped her connect with her patients.

“She was there to give you great insight. She was also a friend,” Arciniega said. “She wasn't stuffy. She was well-rounded. She loved to walk with you, your dog and have fun and host people.”

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Words such as helpful, charismatic and passionate were all used to describe the young doctoral recipient from California.

“She was beautiful inside and out, and the world is not as complete without her now,” Arciniega said. 

Santiago was shot and killed March 12 in a luxury apartment complex near the Pearl.

New information listed in a report from the San Antonio Police Department said witnesses told officers they heard Santiago screaming from the balcony as someone on the other side of the glass door shot her.

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When police arrived, officers said the gunman, Scott Caruso, 36, shot and killed himself. Friends said the two had been in a relationship.

“There were problems, of course,” Arciniega said, highlighting her belief that Santiago was not a victim of domestic violence. “She didn't leave him for many years because he said he would hurt himself, and she didn’t want that because she loved him.”

Her friends and family members are choosing to move forward not remembering her as a victim, but as a strong, hardworking Latina who was making her family proud.

“She was very modest about it and I’m very proud of her in every way,” Arciniega said.

Santiago worked at the VA helping veterans. She was on a postdoctoral clinical fellowship in geropsychology at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. 

She was planning on taking her licensing test in the spring to continue working with older veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“With her smarts, her charisma and her carrying personality she could have gone anywhere,”Arciniega said. “Anyone would have loved to have had her as a psychologist.”

Funeral arrangements are being planned in California.

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