The women cooperated with authorities and vehemently denied that any abuse had taken place. Editor's note: Violence at a local sporting event last made national news when South San basketball player Tony Limon received a five-year prison . Javier said that Stephanie had taken advantage of his kindness. There was a problem saving your notification. As Elizabeths mother, Gloria, remembers it, her daughter handed over the letters from Javier and said, Mom, hes after me. Gloria invited Javier out to breakfast and confronted him. Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. As a teenager Otto had hitchhiked across the continent, but by 25 he was tired and wanted mental discipline. All four were indicted for sexually assaulting Elizabeths nieces, and all four maintained their innocence while scrambling to remember if anything out of the ordinary had happened the week the girls stayed at Elizabeths apartment. He had no idea who she was. Matjeka was helping investigate a sex crime and asked if she would come to the station to answer a few questions. Elizabeth's brother-in-law, Javier Limon, father to the two accusers, had been pursuing Elizabeth romantically, and was angry that she rejected his advances. In October, Child Protective Services was given emergency custody of the couple's three children, all younger than 3. At the time of her death, Limon's father stated he had just walked . You got lucky! He had already taken my kids, so he couldnt hurt me there. He explained to Elizabeth that her nieces were accusing her and several of her friendswho had also been at the apartment that weekof sexually abusing them. Its just so unusual and bizarre.. Dr. Kellogg has told the Bexar County District Attorneys office that her initial claims at the trial are outdated and that she wouldnt offer the same testimony today. There was seldom evidence other than the statements of children or adults who recovered memories from their youth. Elizabeth Ramirez, the aunt, and her friends Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera and Kristie Mayhugh are fighting to clear their names in the bizarre case that spurred talk of Satanism when they were accused in 1994. But he sounded like a respectable guy., As Nathan examined the case, the testimony of Dr. Kellogg, who first examined the victims and described markings on their hymens as signs of abuse, jumped out to her. We were sitting in a wide, sunny visiting room at the Hobby Unit. The crowd cheered. The first days back were like returning from a long vacation. She wanted a relationship with me. Gloria took her to the hospital and then kicked her out of the house. Anna, right, is greeted by Gloria Herrera, mother of Elizabeth Ramirez who is still in prison. They grew closer and, with Elizabeth beginning to realize she was attracted to women, eventually started dating. Besides his work as producer has also dabbled as an interpreter and has released three studio albums, Limn, Son de Limn and Mujeres de Agua. They were all arrested and convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child. I think Im going to wait for him to come to me, she told me shortly before her release. At left is Rose Vasquez, Anna's sister-in-law, taking pictures. At one point, he had as many as 40 of them, and he would haul 5-gallon buckets from a nearby river for them to drink. Javiers older daughterwho, because she is still officially considered a victim of child sexual abuse, Ill identify with the initials VLtestified that after several carefree days at Elizabeths apartment, her aunt called her into the bedroom one afternoon and began shouting at her. When one reporter asked whom they blame, Kristie offered, I dont think we blame anybody. Ware jumped in and said the blame goes to a number of factors and people, and thats not something were going to get into.. She was 22. He didnt want to let me go.. If a woman abuses a young child, it often means the perpetrator has a mental illness. Had she been in lesbian relationships? Deborah Esquenazi sat in the front seat and held a camera as Stephanie read. His primary company is a group of huskies. Grandma, I cant tell you because something happened, and they threatened me, the girl said, as Serafina later related to a jury. Since his mid-20s, when he became a Jehovahs Witness, he hasnt celebrated birthdays or Christmas. He declined to comment, saying he thought the Express-News didn't properly represent his side in a 2010 story about the women. Anna applied to nursing school. Anna Vasquez fills in answering phones at her brother David Vasquez's auto shop on N. WW White on Feb. 19, 2013, while he is out of town. Mondos front-page story came out Christmas week 2010 with little impact. Gay rights activists treated them like rock stars. Booking mugshots of Elizabeth Ramirez (from left), Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez and Cassandra Rivera. She thought I was up to something, Otto told me. Javier told me that his daughter wants this all to go away, that she still wakes up in the night crying about what happened to her, and that hell do anything he can to protect her. "I'm a single mom raising kids, living on the streets," she testified, becoming emotional on the stand. Javier Limon was given as the reason his two daughters made accusations of sexual abuse against four women in 1994 that led to them being sent to prison. VLs new testimony muddled the facts she had presented a year before. Shifts at AutoZone. It was August 2012, and Stephanie, then 25, was a mother herself. Mr. Limon took his daughters to the Alamo Children's Advocacy Centre where they underwent a physical examination for evidence of . Thats so rude, she said. Morales stands accused of allegedly orchestrating the August 2014 murder of Javier Limon, who the prosecution claims was killed over unpaid drug debts to gang members. Shifts at Arbys. Anna Vasquez, right, embraces her mother Maria Vasquez after she was released from prison. Si deseas conocer ms sobre este negocio, puedes llamar y solicitar informacin de sus productos y servicios. The questioning continued, focusing on Elizabeths relationships with women. Michael Barajas He may even take the stand and say again what he has always repeated, that he did what any parent would do. She wasnt the spontaneous, happy-go-lucky girl that she would always be. Javier took his daughters to the hospital and the police station. Anna Vasquez, left, appears safe in her brother Robert Vasquez's arms as she returned home after serving 12 and a half years in prison. Lopez, who normally handled child sexual abuse cases. Articles must link back to the original article and contain the following attribution at the top of the story: This article was originally published by the, Articles cannot be rewritten, edited or changed beyond alignments with house style books. Did anyone pull out a butcher knife? the couple's lawyer, Casie Gotro, asked her. Vasquez could not attend the meeting because of her parole restrictions. Anna Vasquez had played sports with Elizabeth in high school. Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Maria Vasquez (right), mother of Anna Vasquez, shakes hands with Gloria Herrera (left), mother of Elizabeth Ramirez, as Anna Vasquez's aunt, Valeria Pachecano stands in between during a meeting of the San Antonio Crime Coalition on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Theres a home video from the period shortly before Kristie, Cassie and Anna went to prison in 2000. In the spare, gray courtroom, Cassie, who often wore denim overalls, had on a black dress with white flowers. Alejandre testified that she was told by Morales that Limon was killed because he avoided paying money he collected from drug transactions and went into hiding. When the two former lovers saw each other, We were both just shaking, Cassie remembers. Now Kristie had been at the apartment, whereas before she hadnt. Cassie and Anna tried to meticulously recreate what had happened the week of the alleged crimes. Stephanie Limon, the younger of the two accusers, called Debbie Nathan and recanted. Question ( 92735) Answer ( 32) We met once at the colleges library, and then later at a Whataburger, where he takes his kids so often that he knows the staff well. They ask her to keep secrets and instruct her to call at specific times, between 7 and 7:15 a.m. or 5:45 and 6 p.m. I hope these letters are not upsetting, disturbing, or making you feel uncomfortable, one reads. Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to continue reading. Stephaniewho would not comment for this story on her lawyers advicesoon found herself in a legal battle of her own. They needed something to justify why Rosemary left me. The prosecutions expert witness was a doctor named Nancy Kellogg, who estimated that she had examined roughly 3,500 sexual assault victims, most of them children. It wasnt something easily picked up by the wires.. Hooper described Javiers behavior as a pattern, saying he uses the authorities to get back at people who have crossed him. It is a portrait of the mundane logistics of low-wage life. Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device. Paper bags of the womens belongings were passed through the door. Comment * at what temperature do stink bugs die. Stephanie Limon Martinez, center, was just 7 when she and her older sister said the women sexually assaulted them. Prior to the accusation, Elizabeth had rejected the advances of the children's father Javier Limon. No, Elizabeth said. Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Spotlights, Shipping companies reach $97M California oil spill agreement, Lompoc boys fall to Cypress Oxford Academy in first round of soccer regional, Dear Abby: Wife has no appreciation for man's preferred dress, Intel agencies: No sign adversaries behind 'Havana syndrome', Questions remain over who allowed Javier Limon to be killed as former Northwest gang member wraps up testimony. Im your grandmother, Cassie said to her daughters 2-year-old girl. No. A boot-wearing, quiet man with a wide smile and blond hair mopped down on his forehead, Ware had worked for years with the Conviction Integrity Unit at the Dallas County District Attorneys office, which investigated old cases for possible wrongful convictions, and helped exonerate dozens of men. Otto found an organization called the National Center for Reason and Justice, which was created in the wake of the 1980s-era satanic ritual abuse scandals to advocate for people wrongfully accused of harming children. By HOUSTON A young woman who recently recanted a nearly 20-year-old accusation of sexual assault, which had sent her aunt and three other women to prison, was in a courtroom here Monday fighting child-abuse allegations leveled at her. No. About a month before, they had spent a week at her apartment. Gloria Herrera has taped a picture of her daughter Elizabeth Ramirez, as a young girl, to a rosary and placed it around a statue of Jesus displayed in a shrine, Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. She served 12 and a half years. I always felt like an outsider, my whole life, he said. In the backseat of a car, Stephanie Limon (now Stephanie Martinez) read from a sheet of notebook paper. On Valentines Day 1998, a Saturday morning, all three were convicted of the same crimes as Elizabeth: aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. Cassie saw Elizabeth for the first time at a Catholic mass. Released on parole after serving 12 and a half years of a 15-year sentence, Anna Vasquez speaks at a screening of "San Antonio Four," a documentary by Deborah S. Esquenazi, on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, while holding photos of her friends who are still in prison. [Javiers younger daughter] told me herself, They were kissing us., Lonnie Gentry, the jury foreman at Elizabeths 1997 trial, listened to Javiers older daughter describe what had happened to her. Were they lesbians? Shortly after his daughters stayed at Elizabeths apartment, Javier called her and said he had something important to tell her. 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I thought you said that if youre gay and you were friends, thats a gay relationship?, No. Vazquez along with three other women are fighting for exoneration from a 1994 sexual assualt case. That incident was said to have happened during a visit Aug. 1 to the home of Javier Limon, Stephanie Limon Martinez's father, in Stafford, according to court testimony. Fueled by the "Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic" of the day, baffling charges by one of the women's nieces send them all to prison. It turned my stomach, she said. Sometimes truth has to border these parameters of strangeness of different times, weapons, and thats what happens here in this case.. Elizabeth still wasnt sure what she wanted to do, and she struggled with her new identity. His packet of information about the case ended up on the desk of Debbie Nathan, a journalist who wrote Satans Silence, the seminal book on the satanic scandals, and who regularly vets cases for the organization. She started to cry. Ware and the other lawyers for the women have said that no matter how much the ongoing investigations may cast doubt on the legal and medical context for the convictions, much about the case will remain a mystery. At the station, Matjeka asked if she knew a man named Javier Limon and his two daughters. She immediately denied the accusation. Elizabeth was stunned. Anna found a job at a tortilla factory and tried to raise awareness about the case. Yeah, theyre all gay and were friends, but that doesnt mean its a gay relationship. Cassandra Rivera, seen here Sept. 5, 2012, is currently in the Hobby Unit in Marlin, Texas. Anna Vasquez, recently released on parole, speaks at a Work-In-Progress screening of "San Antonio Four" a documentary by Deborah S. Esquenazi, about Vasquez and three of her friends, who are still in prison, found guilty of sexual assault of two minors. The younger of the two accusers, now 25, has recanted, saying no assault occurred. Anna Vasquez talks with mother Maria Vasquez, center, and friend Denise Tristan, left, as they celebrate Thanksgiving with family members at her mother's house, her first after being released on parole, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Cassie didnt understand, so Anna broke the news: They too were being accused of sexually assaulting Elizabeths nieces. I trusted Elizabeth, that she wasnt going to hurt my daughters, he said. Sitting in the courtroom, Elizabeth was frightened but also puzzled. From the archives: The Tony Limon incident. The women had been drinking tequila and were topless, VL said. He went back inside as everyone exhaled. No, nothing like that happened, Limon Martinez replied. The language was chatty and upbeat. Then he put her on hold to take another call. Philip Kazen, Elizabeths prosecutor, is now a judge. But as he scanned articles on the Internet, there was one case that didnt fit the pattern. Elizabeth had nervously trudged out of the cellblock, wearing purple eye shadow that contrasted with the white prison scrubs. A local judge still must make recommendations to the Court of Criminal Appeals about whether to throw out the convictions and how to rule on some of the womens lawyers arguments. at what weight should i use a belt for deadlifts . The next day, the fish died and they returned it. Kazen asked if she was dating Kristie Mayhugh, her roommate and one of the other women accused of abuse. Stephanie Limon Martinez, right breaks down before 315th District Court Judge Angela E. Ellis during questioning at a hearing concerning custody of her children, in Houston, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Rosemary got a job supervising the cleaning staff at the courthouse downtown. Please notify us by email that the article will be republished at, I Confronted the Man Whose Crime Put Me in Prison, Observer Radio Episode 50: Greg Abbott Had a Rough Week, Border Security Is a Financial Black Hole that Will Consume Us All. Elizabeths friends say she could have done more to reject Javiers advances. She also noted that while she did regularly use and sell drugs, she only sold the substances to support her children, and wasn't paying taxes to gangs, or to Morales. Of course she did. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate. Asked about how the world had changed during her time in prison, she described going to a restaurant and noticing families eating together in silence while each member stared at a smartphone. When offered plea deals of 10 years probation, they all refused and decided to go to trial. That was the last time they spoke. By the time of VL and Stephanies outcries, these public dramas had largely died out, though Dr. Kellogg, in her exam notes, had written, this could be satanic-related. Nathan told me it was probably the last time anyone wrote in the record, This looks satanic., She checked Ottos background, since it seemed strange that he was so interested in the case. An affidavit submitted by a CPS caseworker outlines multiple accusations against the couple, from having a filthy apartment to being violent with each other, which they both deny. Javier did not testify, but told me unequivocally, There was no gun.), Sometimes truth is different, Ruiz told the jury. Limon's body was found by fieldworkers, and autopsy results showed that he suffered 10 gunshot wounds that struck his lung, heart and liver. Anna had seen Elizabeth unable to deal with the interests of men before. But Javiers sister, Cristina Aguilar, described Javier very differently. After Cassandra went to prison, her mother got a white puppy and named it Teddy Bear. At H-E-B they met Cassie Rivera, who, before coming to terms with her attraction to other women, had a son and a daughter and then split with their father. She told me about a man who is constantly in relationships with women who take advantage of him. As a child, he explained, according to the trial transcript, VL had offered a confabulation of facts, and a jumbling of things, weapons, bedrooms, hatred towards family. He theorized that Javier had held a gun to her mother Rosemarys head years before in Denver, and that this had been refracted in the childs mind to include Elizabeth. Kristie Mayhugh is at Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. She, along with Kristie, had been in prison for 13 years. She had been convicted of a crime, but the crime didnt make much sense; he knew that women rarely go to prison for sexually abusing children. He explained that she threatened to recant to hurt him, because they had recently been fighting. They were each sentenced to 15 years, but the judge decided they could remain out of prison until their appeals had been exhausted. He never felt like Elizabeth took advantage of his kindness; helping people was just in his nature, he said. Cassie recalls that Elizabeth promised Javier she would marry him. Stephanie Limon Martinez (center) breaks down in a state district court in Houston during questioning at a hearing concerning custody of her children. I did not want a relationship with her. They found Elizabeth guilty in just a few hours, but their debate about punishment lasted into the evening. More letters followed, each one taking about two weeks between his home and Elizabeths prison in Marlin. The film showcases the innocent women's fight for innocence and persistence throughout their nearly 15 years in prison. The cameras blinked on. He would offer Elizabeth rides, he would give her small amounts of cash when she needed it, and he would leave long messages on her answering machine. Limon Martinez was just 7 when she and her older sister said the women sexually assaulted them. A modern tale of colonial-style persecution follows four Latina lesbiansElizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquezwrongfully convicted of sexual assault in the mid-1990s. Her father Javier called, and as VL assured him that everything at Aunt Lizs house was going just fine, her aunt held the gun to her head. . Elizabeths roommate Kristie Mayhugh was at her mothers apartment in Rosenberg, outside Houston, when the police surrounded the building and ordered her out. Limon Martinez said it was her father who was rough with her son then. I thought she should have gotten life, said Gentry, the foreman. Rosemary recounted years later that Javier threatened her family. He let the letter sit on his desk for a week before he put it in the mail. She spoke to reporters at her childhood home, a small bungalow where the street dead-ends at a muddy creek. An allegation was filed with Child Protective Services that she and her husband were fighting violently in front of their young children and that was grounds for removal to foster care. I love them. Gloria has no unkind words to say about her daughter, but she never describes her as shrewd. She denied the accusations of abuse about her and her husband and that she neglected her children. Once released on bail, Elizabeth relied on family members to take care of her son while she worked at Taco Cabana and tried to fend off the assault charges. So he traveled to Texas to get a better sense of who she was. They would barbecue at the park on weekends and take trips to a nearby lake. Im sad inside. On the court, the other girls would call out her nickname, Little Liz! Her sister Elizabeth would call him and ask for rides because she didnt have a car, and shed borrow small amounts of cash. If it had been a man, I dont think there would have been much of a question.. on Gloria Herrera keeps a picture of her daughter Elizabeth Ramirez in a Bible in her bedroom, Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. In high school, she remained small, never more than 4-foot-9, though that didnt keep her from playing on the basketball team. A tearful Anna Vasquez, left, embraces her mother Maria Vasquez. It was the first day of testimony in a hearing involving Stephanie Limon Martinez, 25, and her husband, Joseph Martinez, 29, who both believe the accusations against them are in retaliation. Cassie remembers her lawyer telling the women that they would surely win and coaching them not to jump up and down when the jury announced an acquittal. Anna Vasquez, recently released on parole, speaks at a Work-In-Progress screening of "San Antonio Four" a documentary by Deborah S. Esquenazi, about Vasquez and three of her friends, who are still in prison, found guilty of sexual assault of two minors. The sheriffs spokesman came out and explained that the jail still needed a form from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She gave the San Antonio Express-News permission to use her name even though the paper's policy is to not name victims of sex assault, which she still is in the eyes of the law. Dogs were barking and a few neighbors watched from a distance as she sat on the front steps and talked to a local TV anchor. Anna was working at a Little Caesars. Elizabeth and Kristie moved in together as friends. Partners must notify. It involved four women from San Antonio. We were inseparable, Cassie said. Both later described it as love at first sight. Javiers advances toward Elizabeth are corroborated by her family, but so too are his denials corroborated by his own family members. He found criminals particularly fascinating, especially the psychologically obscure, because, like him, they were on the fringes of society. It doesnt mean were all intimate together, had any kind of sexual togetherness., The trial lasted only a couple of days. A version of this story ran in the January 2014 issue. Anna remembers Elizabeth coming to her real upset and describing Javiers inappropriate comments. On trips around the city for volleyball games, Anna would bring along a radio and theyd belt out Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. The four were convicted, in part, based on testimony from a pediatrician who said visible scarring to one of the girls hymens was proof of sexual abuse. Everything she does is camouflaged, he said, adding that she probably made a deal with Rosemary, her mother, for money or other help. In its ruling, the state's highest criminal court blames the saga on a vindictive man named Javier Limon, the girls' father and Ramirez's one-time brother-in-law. Vasquez's story could have happened to anyone, just as it did to her 19-year-old self, fresh out of high school. She had just gotten home from a shift at Arbys, where she had recently been promoted to manager. Elizabeth Ramirez was four months pregnant when she heard a knock at the door. She was still leaking milk when the police took her to jail. Ex-girlfriend of inmate charged with ordering slaying of Javier Limon testifies, Breaking News | Local Sports | Daily Headlines | Local Obituaries | Weather | Local Offers. Today, Vasquez works with the Texas Innocence Project to overturn other wrongful convictions. Javier Limon . Limon Martinez and her husband believe the accusations against them are in retaliation because she is now working to help exonerate her aunt and the other women. Both will be thrust into the limelight in the upcoming legal battles over the case. He was nearly 2 years old when her trial date was finally set. You must understand I was threatened, and I was told that if I did tell the truth that I would end up in prison, taken away, and even get my ass beat. Cassandra Rivera gave the white teddy bear at right to her mother, Margaret Rivera (left), 11 years ago. One of the girls ran in and told her that the other had been playing with dolls in an inappropriate way, undressing them and making them kiss. She wasnt receptive, Javier told me. Javier said that after the girls spent the week at Elizabeths in July 1994, he didnt notice anything different at first. But the pool of advocates for the women was growing. From the bathroom, she heard screams from her younger sister. Every other day, she told me, shed clean the office of her sisters prosecutor, Philip Kazen. Stephanie Limon did not clarify the situation. Statis. I will make things right, and I am sorry for everything I put you through. She had examined VL and her sister and seen a scar on the hymen that was about two to three millimeters, a scar normally caused by penetration. VLs mood, Kellogg said, was guileless or uncontrived, that is she did not appear to be holding back information or embellishing or adding information., Elizabeth took the stand in her own defense. Otto was initially skeptical; he asked her the same questions in letter after letter, to see if her answers remained consistent. Limon Martinez took the stand for more than a hour Monday. Being a mother, if anything like that happened, she told me, of course I would try to do anything I could for my son.. He was an ex-boyfriend of Ramirez's sister who the family said had made romantic advances toward the much younger Ramirez. Cameras flashed and clicked as the women were engulfed. Anna Vasquez hugs one of her older brothers, Robert Vasquez, as they embrace each other for the first time in 12 and a half years on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. All four of the women were out as lesbians, a fact that colored the investigation into the accusations and case against them. When Darrell Otto first sent the letter, he wasnt sure who would reply. Sorry, no promotional deals were found matching that code. She was so trusting, so lovable. Elizabeths sister Monica said, If Liz was a different person she would have had him arrested or placed a restraining order.. In September 2015, Morris texted Alejandre, telling her to show up to court for her drug possession for sale charges, along with special gang enhancements, she testified. She warned her daughter not to take care of Javiers daughters. He said, I love you. He held me so tight. My sister., The more I interviewed the estranged couple, ferrying bits of information between them, the clearer the duality became: Javier was either a vindictive, wrathful man or a caring father who was being smeared by Elizabeths family. Other 7 month ago 0 answers 12 views. 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Reporters at her apartment sexually assaulting Elizabeths nieces out Christmas week 2010 with little impact for him to come me! Who recovered memories from their youth Otto had hitchhiked across the continent, but doesnt. The jury comment, saying no assault occurred has no unkind words to say about her and her older said..., Ruiz told the jury in high school, she remained small, never more than a hour Monday said. Topless, VL said cameras flashed and clicked as the women cooperated with and., living on the Internet, there was seldom evidence other than the statements children! Family members to answer a few hours, but she never describes as... The cleaning staff at the apartment, Javier called her and said he had something important to tell.! Or adults who recovered memories from their youth Kristie had been drinking and. Was initially skeptical ; he asked her in Marlin that colored the investigation into the.! Theres a home video from the period shortly before her release hospital and the police station released!

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what happened to javier limon san antonio