Edinburg police have released new details on the December 10 murder-suicide. The three victims are identified as 19-year-old Rebecca Cantu, 48-year-old Magdelena Cantu, and 30-year-old Aaron Cortez. Police said the shooter is 57-year-old Saul Avila.
Edinburg Police Chief Cesar Torres said the police received a 911 call just after 6:45 a.m. about three bodies found inside an apartment in the 300 block of West Kuhn Street. Officers said the bodies were found by a nurse who came to relieve Cortez from his shift. Cortez was found in the bathroom, Rebecca was found at the bottom of the stairs to the apartment, and Avila was found dead on a bed with a .45 caliber handgun beside him.
After police obtained a search warrant, Torres said they found Magdelena Cantu in a laundry room covered by a blanket. A male toddler, who was unharmed, was found in a separate room.
Torres said he believes this started with a claim of ongoing sexual assault filed by Rebecca against Avila, who she said was her stepfather, back on December 6. Rebecca stated to police that she had been continuously sexually assaulted since she was 14. Torres said Rebecca called later that same day and state she didn’t want to file charges. He said an investigator reached out to her and she again said she didn’t want to file charges because her family was there. The investigator asked if she could come to the police department, but she said she couldn’t because her son had a doctor’s appointment. Rebecca then told police that she would call later to let the Investigator know when she could come in but didn’t state when.
Police said on Friday, December 6, Child Protective Services went to the apartment at 5:45 p.m. and spoke with Rebekah and Magdelena. The CPS case manager said they were informed of the safety plan for her and her child and stated that Avila wasn’t coming back.
The toddler requires 24-hour medical attention, which is why Cortez, who was a nurse and Army Reservist, was at the home. Torres said the child is “doing great” and would make no other comments about him.
The investigator with Edinburg PD said they had not heard back from Rebecca by Monday and attempted to contact her. They said that the call went to voicemail, but the investigator wasn’t able to leave a message.
Torres stated that there were shots fired at the apartment, but nothing was reported.
Torres said the investigation into the case is ongoing as they are reviewing computer and phone videos for additional information and ensure no one else was involved in the incident.
Edinburg police in a statement said,
This horrific incident was carried out by a male who was made aware by family members that there was an investigation initiated. It is clear he did not want the allegations to come to light and this family and family members suffered.
Police said that they have programs in place to help those affected by domestic violence and if you or someone you know are in a situation where you need help, to reach out.