SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio mother has gained strength in coping with the loss of her son thanks to the help of another mother who has a similar tragedy.
Ana Maria Carpio is the mother of Sebastian Carpio, 17.
“He was very charismatic,” Carpio said. “He was loved dearly by family and friends. His coaches and his teachers always spoke highly of him. He was very much loved by me.”
She said Sebastian was everything to her.
“He was very kind and a loving young man,” Carpio said. “He was the light of every room that he entered.”
She said he loved his family and was very caring for his grandmother.
“I have a mother who has been in hospice care for two years now,” she said. “She has Alzheimer’s and dementia, kidney failure and chronic heart disease. They only gave her six months to live. Sebastian was the most patient with her. She loved him dearly. He would be sitting right here on this couch and she would ask him because she knew he was about to graduate, what he wanted to do when he graduated and he would repeatedly answer her over and over and over. She does not know of his passing. We are holding that from her, because we already lost my son. I don’t want to lose my mother, and that would gravely impact her.”
One of the things Sebastian was known for outside of his athleticism and having a passion for mechanical engineering was the fact that he loved to dress up.
“One of his teachers called him Rico Suave because he was always well groomed with this hair,” she said. “He would wear loafers. He was just a very handsome young man. They called him the four-button down guy because he would always wear his shirts with four buttons open. He would just dress up anytime he went anywhere.”
Carpio remembers the last time she spoke with her only son.
“He went missing September 18,” she said. “I was getting groceries for my mother, and he stayed at home this time. He would always go with me, but he said he was going to take a nap. I agreed, and the last time I spoke to him, he called me at 6:33 that evening while I was at HEB. He said he was going to go on a bike ride, and I said that it was OK as long as he was back by the time I finished getting groceries.”
She said it was normal for him to ride his bike, but this night was different.
“I got home, and I saw that he was not home,” Carpio said. “I texted him and he didn’t respond, and he is usually very responsive to my texts and calls. An hour or two go by and I am calling him over and over, but by that time, his phone had died.”
She said that is when she went searching for him.
“I drove all around the neighborhood and this park that he loved to play basketball at,” she said. “I called his coach, and he was helping me look for him. At 11 or so, I finally called police and I reported him missing. It was just my motherly instinct that something was wrong. This was not normal of him.”
Two days later, Sebastian’s remains were found in the trunk of a burned stolen car on Calle Duarte.
“That individual who did this does not know the impact they caused, not only to the victim but to the family. The series of acts committed by this one individual, it is just not normal,” Carpio said.
Since her son’s death, life has been hard for Carpio.
“It is very draining,” she said. “It is like they killed you in real life as well. Mentally, emotionally, physically, you are just drained. Everyday is a struggle. You relive the situation over every minute and every second. Sometimes, you are OK, but sometimes, it hits you and you are reliving it again.”
Carpio said at first, she feels she was stereotyped by law enforcement.
“I think it because of the area we lived there are runaways every day, but I know my son,” she said. “If I hadn’t acted quickly, I would have never known what happened to him, and my son’s case would have probably been a cold case.
Despite the pain she has endured, a woman named Kimberly Dean, her co-worker, has been there every step of the way.
She too knows what it is like to lose a child to violence.
“My story started six years ago,” Dean said. “We were notified February 5, 2015. I was at work. My husband was home and our youngest daughter was in classes at UT Austin. We all got the news separately.”
Dean said because of a gag order that has been in place since 2015, she is limited with what she can say about the case.
“I was informed that my daughter was murdered, and she was 29 years old and she was seven months pregnant,” Dean said.
Her daughter was also a great citizen of the community.
“She was beautiful,” Dean said. “She was a people pleasing woman. She never met a stranger. She wanted to go into the police field, but when she was 18, she suffered from a cancer that we dealt with for 10 years. She went through all kinds of surgeries, but she stayed in school and pursued two degrees. She ultimately became a Victim’s Advocate with the Kyle Police Department and was working as that up until the day she died.”
Dean said she is thankful their paths crossed.
“Out of the tragedies, I say there is God’s will in finding ways of having to deal with things,” Dean said. “As horrible and as sad as everything is between us, I feel like there was some reason for me to go and continue to go through this. So often, people will say, ‘I know how you feel. Time will cure it all.’ I think, with death, people have a hard time experiencing what they should say or how they should say it or act. Until you have actually experienced it, you have no idea.”
The two mothers said these losses are not something anyone can prepare for, which is why they are now there for each other.
“I respect everything she stands for,” Dean said. “There is a lot of things she does that gives me strength. Her determination. We bounce off each other and keep each other going because there are triggers.”
The two call each other warriors as they cope with their losses.
Carpio hopes the suspect, who was 16 years old when the crime happened, gets a severe punishment.
“Right now, this person is going through rehabilitation,” she said. “I would like a change of laws when it comes to dealing with juveniles. I want the laws to be stricter and for the whole process to change.”
She said as she continues to fight for the maximum punishment, she encourages families in her position to never give up.
“Be a warrior,” Carpio said. “Go out and advocate for your children. We know what we have at home in our children more than anyone else. Do not stop. Don’t take whatever is given to you by those handling your loved one’s case. You go out and investigate. Research the laws. You become an expert in areas you have no expertise in. We will never get our babies back, but we will make sure that those individuals get a maximum punishment they could possibly get. That is what I am seeking.”
The families are still asking anyone with any information in Sebastian’s case to call authorities.
This Saturday, Sept. 25, Carpio said she is planning a memorial birthday celebration in honor of what would have been Sebastian’s 19th birthday.
The details about the celebration has not yet been released at this time.