Sisters share similar grief after their daughters die in separate incidents

Brittany Reardon killed in shooting; Chrystal Espinosa stabbed

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Two sisters are linked by the tragic deaths of their only daughters.

The most recent death happened Saturday, when police said a man accidentally discharged his gun in an apartment in the 1100 block of Vista Valet Drive on the Southwest Side. A bullet struck the man's girlfriend, Brittany Reardon.

"It punctured her lung, and it tore her vein in her heart. She started bleeding out, immediately," said Carol Ann Reardon, Brittany's mother.

Brittany's cousin and best friend, Chrystal Espinosa, died nearly three years earlier. 

Police said Espinosa's fiance, Charles Wayne Haltom, stabbed her to death. Haltom is expected to go on trial this spring.

"They both left us on the 16th. Chrystal left us on June 16, 2016. Brittany left us Feb. 16, 2019. They both are our only daughters," said Desiree Mata, Chrystal Espinosa's mother.

Carol Ann Reardon said what adds to the pain of losing her daughter is the uncertainty about what she thinks happened at her daughter's apartment.

Police said it appears while Brittany's boyfriend was trying to load a magazine into a gun, it discharged and a bullet went through the bathroom door, striking Brittany, who was sitting inside. 

Carol Ann Reardon said she won't feel satisfied with the initial finding until the full autopsy is complete.

"The boyfriend came into the bathroom and told her it was an accident. So when police came, she told them it was an accident. But how would she know if it's an accident, if the door's closed to the bathroom?" Carol Ann Reardon said.

Brittany and Chrystal leave behind children and parents who want answers.

"There's never going to be closure," Carol Ann Reardon said.

Because of financial difficulties, Carol Ann Reardon said she has no idea how, or when the funeral will be. 

She's hoping a plate sale scheduled for March 2 will help defray some costs.


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