‘Hope she never gets out’; Two years later and family still fighting for justice for baby James Chairez

Hearing scheduled March 20 for D’Lanny Chairez

SAN ANTONIO – Two years after 18-month-old James Chairez disappeared and his mother was arrested for his death, family members are still seeking justice.

Mariesol Benavidez says she still grieves for her nephew baby James Chairez.

“She failed James as a mother,” Benavidez said. “She was to be his caretaker and his life is no longer here.”

In January 2021, Benavidez notified San Antonio Police Department that she couldn’t find her niece D’Lanny Chairez or D’Lanny’s son James.

A search for the two began in February and while D’Lanny Chairez was found safe, baby James was not.

In April 2021, his remains were located underneath the trailer where he lived with his mom.

“There’s not a day that I don’t talk to him,” Benavidez said. “We, a lot of times, just sit and watching his videos.”

D’Lanny Chairez was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence. She took a plea deal on that charge and was sentenced to five years in prison. On the day of sentencing, more than a year after James was found, D’Lanny Chairez was also charged with injury to a child. She has yet to go to trial on that charge.

Recently, her attorney filed a reduction-of-bond motion in her case. Benavidez is not happy with that filing.

“I hope she never gets out,” Benavidez said. “She needs to suffer the consequences of this.”

D’Lanny Chairez’s next court date is scheduled for March 20 and the bond reduction motion could be considered.

“I hope and pray that the justice system does James right and he deserves justice,” Benavidez said.


About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 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.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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