Edinburg residents accused of kidnapping, murder indicted
A 21-year-old Edinburg man entered a not guilty plea to accusations that he and three other people kidnapped and killed a 37-year-old man whose body was found inside a burning vehicle in March. A grand jury indicted Arredondo and 27-year-old Nallely Ruby Belmares, 19-year-old Josias Hernandez and 18-year-old Juan Duenes, all Edinburg residents, on June 14 on a charge of capital murder. They are accused of killing Teodoro Martinez, who was found in a burning car on March 25 near Val Verde Road and Mile 22 1/2 Road. The sheriff’s office previously said three masked and armed men assisted Arredondo in the kidnapping. Martinez died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the sheriff’s office.myrgv.com
Edinburg man accused of killing expecting mother, unborn child pleads guilty
EDINBURG — An Edinburg man accused of killing an 18-year-old woman and her unborn child after striking her and an unidentified woman with his vehicle last year pleaded guilty Monday afternoon. Carlos Santiago Rodriguez, 45, pleaded guilty to one charge of accident involving death, accident involving serious bodily injury and tampering with physical evidence with intent to impair. Perez and her baby died at the hospital after doctors attempted an emergency cesarean section in an attempt to save the baby but ultimately failed. Rodriguez allegedly concealed, destroyed or altered the airbags and license plates on his vehicle to hinder the DPS investigation. The agency said in an Aug. 3, 2021 news release that Rodriguez turned himself in the following day.myrgv.com
New connector opens Saturday on Pharr interchange
Beginning Saturday evening, the I-2 and 1-69C Pharr interchange will be closed and drivers will be directed onto a new connector, DC4, Texas Department of Transportation officials said Friday. “Along both routes, there will be continuous movement; no traffic lights will be in place to stop the flow of traffic,” TxDOT said in the news release. Residents can get updates at DPJVTX.com, or call a project hotline at (956) 803-3560. The work is part of a $303 million interchange project that’s expected to be completed by late 2023. “Once completed, the interchange connectors will each accommodate two lanes of traffic and Interstate 2 will widen to 8 lanes, between Second Street in McAllen and Stewart Road in San Juan,” the release read.myrgv.com
Edinburg police: man assaulted delivery truck driver, tried stealing vehicle
Edinburg police arrested a man after he allegedly assaulted the driver of a delivery truck and tried to steal the vehicle Wednesday afternoon, according to a news release from police. Officers responded to the 1500 block of Carmen Avenue in reference to a stolen delivery truck at about 4:30 p.m., the release said. When they arrived, police learned two people were making a delivery when the suspect stole the vehicle and drove about a block before the truck got stuck in a grassy area. According to the release, one of the deliverers stayed behind in the truck and was assaulted by the suspect before he fled the scene. The release also noted that a marked police unit caught fire while officers were searching the area.myrgv.com
RGV Vipers stars host “Champ Camp” in Edinburg
EDINBURG — Anthony Lamb, Daishen Nix and Trevelin Queen played pivotal roles for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers during their run to the 2021-22 NBA G League Championship, the team’s fourth title in its history. Lamb, Nix, Queen and the RGV Vipers hosted Day 1 of a three-day basketball “Champ Camp” on Monday at the Vipers Practice Facility in Edinburg. Queen was named the 2022 NBA G League Most Valuable Player and Finals MVP, in addition earning a spot on the All-NBA G League first team and All-Defensive Team. Lamb was a NBA G-League third-team member, and Daishen Nix is under contract with the Houston Rockets. Now, RGV Vipers players like Lamb, Nix and Queen hope they can help inspire the next generation of basketball players in the Valley while creating similar paths as Payton at the NBA level.myrgv.com
Edinburg CISD sues insurers over Hurricane Hanna coverage
The Edinburg school district sued a bundle of its insurance carriers last month, claiming that they failed to payout over $39 million for damage sustained during Hurricane Hanna. Zurich American Insurance Company, the lead underwriter, filed an answer to the suit this week denying the claims. According to the district’s suit, in 2020 Hurricane Hanna damaged several district properties, “severely compromising roofs” at some buildings. They also show damaged roofs and HVAC units. “As a result of the extreme winds and rains caused by Hurricane Hanna, the Properties suffered severe damage,” the suit reads.myrgv.com
Edinburg man convicted of 2019 killing of girlfriend
An Edinburg man admitted on Wednesday to stabbing his girlfriend to death in 2019. Isidro Beltran Mancilla Jr., 42, plead guilty to a charge of murder and received a 45-year prison sentence, court records indicate. A judge handed the sentence down a day before Mancilla’s birthday. On Feb. 26, 2019, police responded to the 3000 block of East Efrain Street, off North Doolittle Road in northeast Edinburg, around 11 p.m. in reference to a suspicious circumstance and found 27-year-old Samantha Marie Cantu dead from a stab wound to the chest. At the time, police said it was unknown how long Cantu had been dead, but when officers arrived she was not responsive.myrgv.com
Former officer was at McAllen bar prior to early morning arrest, affidavit says
A former McAllen police officer charged with driving while intoxicated on Friday claimed he was distracted by his cell phone when an Edinburg officer pulled him over for speeding and trying to avoid a red traffic light.myrgv.com
Edinburg reports resident feedback for 2040 Vision plan survey
After seeking feedback from residents, Edinburg this week unveiled the results of that input which included their top priorities for the city. Quality of streets, drainage and lighting were among the main concerns for the Edinburg residents who participated in a survey that was conducted as part of the city’s 2040 Vision plan, an initiative to develop a vision for the city. Those who responded to the survey listed the city’s defining characteristics as its sense of community, outdoor recreation, and its cultural diversity and history. The city touted the latest figures from the Census Bureau which show that Edinburg was the fastest growing city in the Rio Grande Valley and the fifth fastest growing city with more than 100,000 people in Texas from 2020 to 2021. The top priorities for the next two years were street quality, drainage, street lighting, pedestrian accessibility, property maintenance, and traffic management.myrgv.com
Valley health, law enforcement officials urge emergency preparedness in Uvalde’s wake
Noel Oliveira’s words echoed across the room filled with first responders, educators and parents who sat here at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance for a presentation Wednesday designed to save lives, a presentation that’s becoming more and more of a necessity following the Uvalde shooting massacre in May that claimed 21 lives at a local school.myrgv.com
Edinburg man threatens park visitors with gun
An Edinburg man was arrested Sunday night after he allegedly threatened people at the Edinburg Municipal Park with a gun, according to a news release from Edinburg city officials. Police responded to the park, located at 714 S. Raul Longoria Road, about 7 p.m. after several police received several calls about a man threatening people with a gun. The suspect ran when he spotted police units, but officers gave chase and apprehended him without incident, police said. Police, however, were not able to locate the handgun the man used to threaten others, the document said. Anyone who witnessed the incident or heard a threat being made is asked to call police at (956) 289-7700.myrgv.com
Investigator describes crime scene in Edinburg double homicide trial
A witness testified Tuesday that they discovered a diamond ring, a handgun and drug paraphernalia inside the stolen GMC Sierra that belonged to one of the murder victims in the Edinburg double homicide trial after the main suspect was arrested.myrgv.com
Harlingen mayor to hold fundraiser in Edinburg
HARLINGEN — Newly-elected Mayor Norma Sepulveda is holding a fundraiser at noon Wednesday at her friend’s Edinburg law firm. On May 26, she held her first fundraiser following the campaign at The 83 Winery in Harlingen. The fundraiser’s set contribution levels at $500, $1,000 and $2,500, according to the event’s invitation, which added checks can be made to the Norma Sepulveda Campaign. “Despite any differences with past mayors, we all agree that Harlingen’s success requires a regional approach,” Sepulveda stated. “My public schedule remains public and transparent, as do my timely financial reports,” Sepulveda stated.myrgv.com
Sharyland High celebrates 100th graduating class
EDINBURG – Spirits were high amidst the chaotic gathering of nearly 400 students for Sharyland High School’s graduation ceremony at the Bert Ogden Arena here as school faculty fulfilled their duties in preparation. This ceremony for Class of 2022 marks the centennial year for Sharyland High School which makes it especially unique with it not just being an anniversary but in that the graduating students have overcome the obstacles of school life during and after a global pandemic. “It’s been a dramatic change for the kids from the pandemic to now,” Sharyland High School Principal Lori Ann Garza said. “Our teachers have done an amazing job.”Vidaurri added that the same holds true for Pioneer High School, which held their commencement ceremony earlier that morning. Salinas’ self-discipline and hard work has paid off, leaving his high school years with wise words.myrgv.com
After 77 years, Edinburg sailor on USS Indianapolis classified as ‘buried at sea’
An Edinburg man who served on the USS Indianapolis during World War II is among 13 soldiers whose status recently changed from “unaccounted for” to “buried at sea,” nearly 77 years later, according to a Navy news release. Ship’s Cook 3rd Class Jose Antonio Saenz enlisted in the Navy in 1943, according to Monitor newspaper archives, where he would then board the USS Indianapolis. Two Japanese torpedoes hit the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, when the heavy cruiser was on its way to the Philippines from Guam. During his time working for the Navy History and Heritage Command, Rick Stone began the USS Indianapolis Burial at Sea Project — the goal of which was to resolve the misclassifications. Petty Officer Max Hill of McAllen was declared dead after the ship went down.myrgv.com
Ulvade school shooting prompts extra security at Valley campuses
Other law enforcement entities at the meeting said their officers will be spending more time at and in the vicinity of campuses in Edinburg. School and law enforcement entities traded contact info and addresses and talked strategy in the event of a crisis. We initiated Operation Safeguard, and here we are again: Operation Safeguard, getting on high alertness, making sure that our students are safe and that what happened in Uvalde doesn’t happen here.”The last time Operation Safeguard made the news was in 2013. Direct lines to our principal’s offices.”Familiarity between law enforcement and campus staff, Perez said, is also important. “That’s encouraged.”Perez described the school district’s security approach as aggressive and forward-minded.myrgv.com
Defense alleges victim in capital murder trial abused mother
EDINBURG — Defense attorneys in a capital murder trial here went on the offensive Tuesday, alleging that one of the victims had an abusive history toward his mother, who was paralyzed and diabetic. Defendant Gabriel Keith Escalante, 43, is accused of beating his friend, Alejandro Salinas, 53, to death and asphyxiating his mother, Olivia Salinas, 73, for money they would’ve received from a lawsuit settlement. He’s also accused of cleaning the scene of the crime with Clorox together with his girlfriend, Irene Navejar, 44. Escalante and Navejar were charged with capital murder of multiple persons and tampering with evidence with intent to impair. “It was a funny relationship,” Villarreal said.myrgv.com
Diamondbacks, Warriors both headed for Game 3s
Listen insteadSharyland Pioneer and McAllen Rowe both dropped Game 2 of their respective Region IV-5A quarterfinal best-of-three series to force a pair of Game 3s on Saturday. Corpus Christi Veterans jumped on Pioneer with a four-run third inning and a six-run fourth. Game 3 between Pioneer and Corpus Christi Veterans is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at Hebbronville High School. The winner between Pioneer and Corpus Christi Veterans will meet Buda Johnson (24-10-1, 11-5) in the Region IV-5A semifinals. The winner advances to the Region IV-5A semifinals to face either New Braunfels Canyon (26-8, 12-2) or Georgetown (26-6, 8-4).myrgv.com
Gutierrez, hot hitting leads La Joya over Edinburg Vela in Game 1 of Round 3 playoff series
Listen insteadEDINBURG — Edinburg Vela entered Game 1 of its Region IV-6A quarterfinal playoff series against La Joya High as winners of 16 straight games. We’ve been working at it all week and the bats came alive today and I hope it continues tomorrow,” La Joya head coach Mario Flores said. La Joya left-handed pitcher JC Gutierrez, a Texas Tech signee, was lights out throughout as he carried a one-hitter into the sixth. Ramos finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and one run to lead La Joya. We just need to work with what we have and do what we do best — hit and score runs,” Ramos said.myrgv.com
‘Never forget the sacrifice’: Families, colleagues of fallen officers gather in remembrance
Pictures of officers who have died in the line of duty surrounded the podium where Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “We will never forget the sacrifice.”The names of the fallen officers were carved into a black marble stone displayed in front of the sheriff’s office, which was decorated in black and blue arrangements. The poem, “The Monument,” was written from the perspective of a fallen officer as he attends his own funeral. Dear God, let my name be the last.”Among the families was Celia Segovia, whose husband Manuel Abelardo Segovia Jr., a narcotics investigator for the sheriff’s office, was killed on Oct. 31, 1986. Emily Bravo, the niece of deputy Benito Eduardo Bravo of the sheriff’s office, also stood among the crowd that morning.myrgv.com
South Texas Health helps combat stigma surrounding mental health issues
Garza proclaimed May 2022 as National Mental Health Awareness Month in order to end the stigma behind those who suffer from mental health issues. “I recently went through the mental health certification … a 48 hour training course understanding mental health and how to deal with it,” Perez said. To combat the stigma behind mental health issues, Mental Health Officer Cesar Lizcano of the Pharr Police Department shared his personal story struggling with his mental health after surviving COVID-19. Joseph Garcia, Director of Clinical Service for STHS Behavioral, spoke of the stigma against mental health issues and where it may stem from for some people and how one could help combat it. “I think the best way to go about it is to one’s self and to educate one’s family with regards to what a mental health episode means,” Garcia said.myrgv.com
Vaqueros’ comeback attempt falls short against Bearkats
The Vaqueros dropped to 30-22 overall and rank third in Western Athletic Conference’s (WAC) Southwest Division with a 15-12 record. We can beat anyone in the league if we play good. It’s not like we’re stressing if we’re a lower seed, it doesn’t matter if we play the best seed — if we play good, we will win. If we don’t play good, it doesn’t matter if we play a low seed, we will lose. UTRGV closes out WAC play with a three-game series against Stephen F. Austin beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.myrgv.com
Under scrutiny: Edinburg politiquero’s indictment raises questions about campaign ties
In total, he received $24,100 from campaign work since September 2018. The most recent campaign work for Strong Blue RGV came from the Ruben Ramirez campaign, which made three payments of $500 to Garza’s company for “consultant-field” work. In a statement issued Thursday, Ramirez’s campaign said they had cut ties with Garza. “The newly reported details are alarming and the campaign has terminated its relationship with Mike Garza,” the campaign said. But Garza made the most from working with Salinas, the former Edinburg city council member for Place 1.myrgv.com
Vaqueros’ ace Stevens dominant in win over Bearkats
Listen insteadMaking the final home start of his career, senior right-hander Kevin Stevens pitched eight innings of three-hit shutout ball to lead the UTRGV baseball team to a 4-1 victory over the Sam Houston Bearkats on Friday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium in Edinburg. The Vaqueros (30-20, 15-10 WAC) are now within two games of the Bearkats (27-21, 17-8 WAC) for first place in the Western Athletic Conference Southwest Division standings with five games remaining. Stevens walked one while allowing three singles, two of which didn’t leave the infield. The Bearkats pushed across their run with two outs during the ninth on an RBI single by Easton Loyd. UTRGV and Sam Houston play the middle game of this three-game series at 6 tonight at UTRGV Baseball Stadium in Edinburg.myrgv.com
Edinburg man accused of beating girlfriend to death indicted for murder
A 53-year-old Edinburg man waived his arraignment Wednesday and entered a not guilty plea to a charge of murder for allegations of beating his girlfriend to death in December. A grand jury indicted Adan Roberto Ruiz Jr. on March 24 on the charge. Edinburg police charged Ruiz with murder on Dec. 11 for the Dec. 7 death of 47-year-old Yvonne Salas at a residence in the 1400 block of North Closner Boulevard in Edinburg. Investigators noted in the affidavit that her eyes were cloudy and had red spots, indicating broken blood vessels. Lyden performed Salas’ autopsy while not holding a valid Texas medical license.myrgv.com
More people in Texas are hospitalized for COVID-19 than at any other time during the pandemic
The COVID-19 unit at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System in Edinburg in June. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneThe Texas Department of State Health Services reported Monday a pandemic high 11,351 hospitalizations from COVID-19. This hospital data does not account for people who are hospitalized but have not gotten a positive test, and DSHS says some hospitals may be missing from the daily counts. As of Monday, the state is also reporting 49 deaths from COVID-19, a lagging indicator of the extent of transmission rates, and more than 12,800 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. Across the state, COVID-19 patients occupy 17.8% of the state's hospital beds, and only 745 staffed ICU beds are still available.
Film documents history of Underground Railroad in South Texas
EDINBURG, Texas – A little known chapter of Civil War history makes for a dramatic story told in “Just a Ferry Ride to Freedom,” a documentary produced by the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The film is based on the choice made by runaway slaves prior to the Civil War, to head south instead of north, to Mexico using another Underground Railroad. The route to freedom would be longer over treacherous terrain between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. Instead, she relied on oral histories with the descendants of those who helped or decided to stay in South Texas, many of whom are now buried in the Rio Grande Valley. They helped other people.”Both he and Bacha-Garza said the people of the Rio Grande Valley should be proud of its history.
Texans who are over 65 or have certain medical conditions are next in line for COVID-19 vaccine
Syringes for the COVID-19 vaccine at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg on Dec. 19, 2020. Credit: Jason Garza for The Texas TribuneNeed to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Texans who are 65 years old and older, and those who are at least 16 with certain chronic medical conditions will be next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced on Monday. There are nearly 1.9 million Texans in that group, so it will likely take a few weeks before the state transitions to the next phase, state health officials said. More than 42,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Texas as of Monday, state data shows. Qualifying conditions for the next phase of the vaccine include, but are not limited to:
South Texas high school football player attacks referee after being ejected from game
EDINBURG, Texas – A South Texas high school football player charged onto the field and bowled over a referee Thursday night, angered after being ejected from the game. Senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron of Edinburg High School came running from the sideline area after the referee announced the ejection, slamming into the official during the first half of the zone play-in game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo. The Monitor of McAllen reported the referee was evaluated for a concussion by medical personnel at the stadium. The game resumed after a delay, with Edinburg winning 35-21 to advance to the playoffs. The District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year last season, Duron also is the Bobcats’ kicker and punter and a star wrestler.
Hidalgo County reports 4 new West Nile cases, 3 new Dengue Fever cases
EDINBURG, Texas – Hidalgo County health officials reported four new West Nile Virus cases and three new cases of Dengue Fever on Monday. In September, 18 Texas counties reported having a case of West Nile virus, including Bexar County, according to state data. According to Olivarez, the West Nile cases were found in the Mercedes, Weslaco and Edinburg areas. County officials said that additionally, three other cases were reported to Hidalgo County a week ago. To protect yourself against either West Nile or Dengue, you must protect yourselves against mosquitoes.
Texas' count of coronavirus deaths jumps 12% after officials change the way they tally COVID-19 fatalities
After months of undercounting coronavirus deaths, Texas formal tally of COVID-19 fatalities grew by more than 600 on Monday after state health officials changed their method of reporting. The revised count indicates that more than 12% of the states death tally was previously unreported by state health officials before Monday. The Texas Department of State Health Services is now counting deaths marked on death certificates as caused by COVID-19. State health officials said Monday that the policy change would improve the accuracy and timeliness of their data. As of July 26, state officials said about 5,030 people who tested positive for the virus had died.
Five U.S. Navy teams deploy to Rio Grande Valley, other Texas coronavirus hot spots
The U.S. Navy has deployed teams to help deal with coronavirus surges in the Rio Grande Valley and other Texas hot spots. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneMedical professionals from the U.S. Navy were deployed Sunday to aid hospitals in four cities across southern Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, according to Gov. Early on in the pandemic, hot spots were mainly tied to outbreaks in enclosed spaces, like meatpacking plants and nursing homes. Five U.S. Navy teams were sent to four locations across Texass southern region: Harlingen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Rio Grande City. Ambulance operators in the Rio Grande Valley area described wait times of up to 10 hours to deliver patients to packed emergency rooms.
Virus cases jump in worst-hit trio of US, Brazil and India
The virus is showing no signs of slowing in the worst-affected countries: the United States, Brazil and India. The U.S. reported nearly 59,000 new daily cases, just short of the record 60,000 cases set a day earlier, as President Donald Trump insisted that schools reopen in the fall. Brazil reported nearly 45,000 new cases. The virus has also been spreading rapidly in South Africa, which reported nearly 9,000 new cases in its latest daily update. He complained that his own public health officials safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.
Texas bans elective surgeries in more than 100 counties as coronavirus hospitalizations keep climbing
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneNeed to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? With cases of the new coronavirus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expanded his ban on elective medical procedures to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state. "We are freeing up more resources to address upticks in COVID-19 related cases, Abbott said in a statement. Hospital capacity is currently most taxed around the states biggest cities, as well as most of South Texas.
Nearly 14% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases are recorded in Texas
On Tuesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 10,000 new cases representing nearly 20% of the nations new cases for the day. There has never been a higher risk of getting COVID-19 in Texas, the states public health agency wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. #COVID19TX update: https://t.co/ofycOLqWQZCurrent #COVID19 hospitalizations continue to increase. There has never been a higher risk of getting COVID-19 in #Texas. We are going to be in a situation where we have to seriously consider sheltering in place again, said Dennis Perrotta, a former Texas state epidemiologist.
Ten out of the 12 hospitals in Texas' Rio Grande Valley are now full
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneHospitals in the Rio Grande Valley sounded the alarm Saturday as their beds filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients and some began transferring patients elsewhere. The local and Valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said in a statement. Hospitals in Starr County were also transferring patients, with at least two severely ill patients flown to Dallas and San Antonio, Vera added. As COVID-19 cases have exploded across Texas, health officials in other areas are also expressing concern about hospital capacity. Greg Abbott, who began allowing Texas businesses to reopen on May 1, expanded his June 25 ban on elective surgeries to counties in South Texas on Tuesday to preserve hospital capacity.
Now hiring: Delia’s Tamales is close to opening its first San Antonio location
SAN ANTONIO – A family business in the Rio Grande Valley has become a popular place for tamales for almost 30 years. Delia’s Tamales has locations in McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan and now very soon in San Antonio. It’s official: Delia’s to open San Antonio locationWhile an exact opening date has not been released, the company posted on their Facebook page that they are close to opening their new location and are looking to hire. The San Antonio location will be located at 13527 Hausman Pass. Papa’s Burgers set to open new location in spide of COVID-19 pandemicIf interested in applying you can fill out an application online at deliastamales.com/jobs.
Officials: More than $700K worth of marijuana seized in two separate incidents
EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande City station agents said more than $700,000 worth of marijuana was seized in two separate incidents over the last two days. Officials received a report of multiple drug smugglers running north of the Rio Grande near Garceno on Wednesday night. After conducting a search of the vehicle, authorities said they found nearly 350 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $275,000. On Thursday morning, RGC agents in La Rosita reported several smugglers loading “bundles of marijuana” into a Chevrolet Suburban. After searching the vehicle, authorities said they found more than 580 pounds of marijuana, valued at $465,000.