‘You messed with the wrong kid’: A mother’s fight for justice

17-year-old Sebastian Carpio was killed and his body burned inside a vehicle. Now his mother is fighting for justice for her only child.

Sebastian Eduardo Carpio

17-year-old Sebastian Eduardo Carpio was your average teenager.

He went to high school at IDEA, was a successful student-athlete, and dreamed of becoming a mechanical engineer.

Sebastian was his mother’s, Ana Maria Carpio, only child.

“He was everything to me. He was the light of every room that he entered,” Ana Maria said.

Sebastian’s disappearance

Sebastian told his mother he was going for a bike ride and would be back by the time Ana Maria got home from grocery shopping.

But when she got home, Sebastian wasn’t there.

“My gut feeling is this is not right, it’s not like him,” she said.

Ana Maria went out looking for him, called friends and his coach but heard nothing about where he was.

Around 11 p.m., she called the police to report him missing.

All the police were able to find out was that Sebastian was last seen riding his bike in the 5500 block of Burgate Farm on the West Side of San Antonio.

His bike was also found at a home not far from that location.

But Sebastian was nowhere to be found.

Burning vehicle discovered

Two days later, San Antonio police made the discovery while responding to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 6600 block of Calle Duarte in Bexar County, the vehicle was found completely burned.

Police say that while inspecting the scene, they discovered skeletal remains inside.

It would be three days later that Ana Maria got the call that the body inside was Sebastian.

On September 25, 2020, friends and family of Sebastian gathered at the Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium to honor his birthday with a parade.

Arrest made in Sebastian’s case

A big break in the investigation came 10 days later when a 16-year-old would turn himself in and revealed he was the one who killed Sebastian.

That teen, later identified as Edgar De La Cruz, was charged with murder and was taken to the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center.

Cruz was given a 25-year sentence for killing Sebastian.

“My son did not deserve, if they did whatever they did to him. You messed with the wrong kid,” Ana Maria said.

Nearly a year after sentencing, a transfer/release hearing took place.

A judge will decide if the teen will be transferred to adult prison or released to serve the remaining sentence on parole.

Details emerge in court

In testimony, it was revealed De La Cruz pointed a gun at Carpio — thinking it was unloaded — and pulled the trigger.

De La Cruz then carjacked a person, put Sebastian inside, and drove to the outskirts of Bexar County and lit it on fire.

During his juvenile evaluation, De La Cruz admitted to years of drug use, violent behavior, and had ties to a Mexican cartel through his uncle, who he was selling drugs for.

“He shared that his uncle told him stories of how people get rid of bodies in Mexico and for the cartel, which gave him the idea of how to not get caught after shooting Sebastian,” Allanna Bennett, Texas Juvenile Justice Department court liaison said.

During the transfer/release hearing De La Cruz said that after 11 months of rehabilitation, he was a changed person and with strict conditions could be on parole.

Judge denied the request and De La Cruz was sent to adult prison. He is eligible for parole in 12 years.

Fighting for justice

Ana Maria was satisfied with the decision she is still not satisfied that De La Cruz only got 25 years for her son’s death.

“I will never get Sebastian back and 25 years this individual will serve in the adult prison will never be enough for me. I will have to deal with him again in 12 years when he completes half of his sentence,” she said.

Ana Maria’s fight for justice continues as she is pushing SAPD to charge other individuals that helped De La Cruz.

“I ask that my Sebastian’s case serves as a good purpose for those families that are victims,” she said. “Aggravated robberies and murders to not give up and to fight for justice and to fight for what is right.

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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.

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

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