‘Why does this continue to happen?’: Bexar County honors children who died of abuse

Community comes together to mark the start of Child Abuse Awareness Month

SAN ANTONIO – Law enforcement agencies, community leaders, child welfare agencies and families expressed frustration Friday during a Child Abuse Awareness event at the Bexar County Courthouse.

The event was to mark the beginning of Child Abuse Awareness Month and honor 13 children who died in Bexar County last year from abuse and neglect.

“Why does this continue to happen” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. “Why do we continue to say enough is enough when it really isn’t, because it keeps happening.”

Already in 2022, several abuse cases have made the news, including that of the death of 5-year-old Mercedes Lasoya. Mercedes died from severe abuse in February.

Her mother, Katrina Rose Mendoza, and her mother’s boyfriend, Jose Angel Ruiz, have since been charged in connection with her death.

“I feel like it’s good thing that we come together as a community for other kids that might be going through this, and then I feel like, why was Mercedes not good enough to have something happen to have prevented this,” Lasoya’s great aunt Emily Lasoya said.

Community leaders Friday pleaded and urged residents to say something if they see something.

“When we see this happening, whether it’s a family member or a friend or whomever it may be, we’ve got to report it and we may report it in time to see a child’s life,” McManus said.

Emily Lasoya said even that sometimes isn’t enough.

“There was numerous reports (made to Child Protective Services) by numerous people, not just our family, but friends of hers,” Emily Lasoya said. “Everybody would report her and nothing happened.”

The family said that changes have to be made at the state level to make sure another case like Mercedes doesn’t happen again.

“Now it’s up to the system to continue to do what needs to be done, and that’s to prevent it from happening when it is first reported,” Mercedes Lasoya’s great grandmother Lupe Morin said.

If you see child abuse happening, you can reach the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services by calling 1-800-252-5400.


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.