It has been almost thirteen years since what is now called the Rubio incident in downtown Brownsville. In that period of time some have called the place abandoned, others call it cursed. Regardless, mixed opinions have been suggested regarding the future of the site. But why is this place so important not just for the city of Brownsville, but for the entire Rio Grande Valley?
Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz says, “on march eleven of 2003, three children were just horrendously murdered. They were decapitated. As the facts later revealed, they were stuffed in trash bags. Very very horrible scene. So horrible that some of the most veteran police officers that went in there. To this day, still recall the incident and are still traumatized by what they saw.”
By many accounts, this was considered as one of the most gruesome acts committed in recent memory. We spoke to a local resident, Marcos Castro, who was twelve years old during the time and was close to the event.
“I remember back then when this did happen. A lot of people here gathered out here, everyone brought teddy bears, I personally, remember that I brought a lot of my toys. Left them out here. There was a virgin Mary and a lot of people out here praying for them,” says Castro.
Marcos says that at the time he quite wasn’t able to understand of what had just happened. However he does remember the time when his mother took him to the funeral of the three children.
“These were the first bodies that I had ever seen and you could tell they were innocent beautiful children and they looked like they were just asleep it’s just that if you actually paid attention now I know that they had this little line on their neck. You can kind of tell they put make-up on it. To make it look decent.”
And he goes on, saying that the funeral was filled with attendees… many of which, like him, were not directly related to the children, but were shocked none the less. As time went on more details about the case became public.
Castro says, “And now that I’ve read about it was that the parents actually claim to have heard voices in their mind of the devil or any other type of negative vibes. That told them to do this. Or so that’s what they claim what happened.”
It’s said that Rubio was known to consume drugs. Sometimes accounts claim that he would consume drugs in front of the children. We spoke with a journalist that spent extensive time on the case. He comments on what he found out regarding the parent’s drug use.
Thirteen year veteran journalists Sergio Chapa says, “Yes they did do drugs. In fact there is one of the pictures with John Allen Rubio smoking a bong in front of the kids.”
Many think that it was the drug use that caused the hallucinations, however, some suggest that it was a combination of factors that came together for what is now considered a tragic fate.
“You get a sense of a young couple, you know, who was barely making it, not even making it. They were desperate. If they just reached out for help, this all could have been prevented,” says Chapa.
Chapa has worked extensively with this and many other crimes locally and in the international scene. Today he is currently a reporter in San Antonio, how does this case compare to others he has worked on?
“The John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho case is one of the most horrific cases, in my thirteen years as a journalist. It’s the one that still haunts you. The case that you can’t forget, it was a crime so terrible it shakes you to the very center of your being to think that a crime like that would be possible,” says Chapa.
The incident took place over a decade ago, but what has happened since and where are the parents today?
District Attorney Saenz, “The case has gone up on appeals various, numerous times. Right now the status is still on appeal. And we hope, myself as a citizen of Cameron County, for a quick expedition of the appeal.
I think that regardless of what your feelings on the death penalty are, if there is a case that merits the death penalty, I think this is the case.”