Woman’s body recovered from submerged vehicle in east Bexar County, sheriff confirms

Body of 5-year-old girl found Thursday in same area

A long, emotional two days of recovery efforts came to an end Friday in east Bexar County after two cars drove into a low-water crossing, killing two people.

SAN ANTONIO – Authorities in east Bexar County have recovered the body of a woman who was in a car that was submerged in high water.

Sheriff Javier Salazar confirmed the body, believed to be 52-year-old Esther Rodriguez Conde, was recovered around 2 p.m., Friday, off N. Graytown Road, near FM 1518, near the city of St. Hedwig. The vehicle was in eight to 10 feet of water when the woman’s body was recovered, according to Salazar.

“It’s been a heartbreaking, exhausting couple of days,” Salazar said.

Conde was identified by her ex-husband to KSAT, and is one of two people who have died in the floodwaters in the area. On Thursday, authorities recovered the body of a 5-year-old girl, identified by family members as Alyssa Layman, in another submerged vehicle.

Bexar County Fire Marshal Chris Lopez said he hopes this incident will help shed light on how important it is to avoid high water crossings.

“These people died. They drowned... This is real. It’s not a game,” Lopez said. “It’s a tragedy and I hope that everyone will take this seriously because it is truly, deadly serious.”

Layman was in a vehicle with a man and two other children, while Conde had two children in her vehicle. Families in both of the vehicles are related, and all of them were on their way to school at the time, according to officials.

Crews spent all day Thursday working on the recovery of the young girl and Conde, using boats, diving equipment, dogs, helicopters and drones.

Salazar said Layman was pronounced deceased at the scene.

“There’s nothing more heartbreaking than to see the body of a 5-year-old pulled out of a car,” Sheriff Salazar said tearfully. “She’s dressed for what I’m told is her first day of school. She’s still wearing a backpack.”

Layman attended Tradition Elementary School, located right around the corner from the scene where she died. The district made counselors available to students Thursday, and they were expected to return again Friday.

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 11 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.