June 29, 2019

25 notorious San Antonio crimes

Plenty of crime has gone down in and around San Antonio during its centuries of existence. And some of those cases made indelible marks of the city's psyche — marks that persist decades later. We rounded up some of those noteworthy crimes to refresh your memory.
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The Murder of Heidi Seeman
In 1990, 11-year-old Heidi Lynn Seeman was walking home down Stahl Road after spending the night at a friend’s house. She disappeared, and community members spent weeks searching for her. Just 21 days after she went missing, Heidi’s body was discovered in a rural area outside of Wimberly. An autopsy revealed that Heidi was raped, strangled and killed before her body was wrapped in trash bags. News of her death shocked and horrified San Antonians. Investigators have never identified her killer.
File photo
The Murder of Heidi Seeman
In 1990, 11-year-old Heidi Lynn Seeman was walking home down Stahl Road after spending the night at a friend’s house. She disappeared, and community members spent weeks searching for her. Just 21 days after she went missing, Heidi’s body was discovered in a rural area outside of Wimberly. An autopsy revealed that Heidi was raped, strangled and killed before her body was wrapped in trash bags. News of her death shocked and horrified San Antonians. Investigators have never identified her killer.
File photo
The Angel of Death
Today, Genene Jones sits in jail as a woman in her late 60s. Thirty years ago, she was a young nurse that used her profession to kill innocent babies, injecting them with a variety of drugs. Nicknamed the “Angel of Death,” Jones is suspected of murdering about 42 infants under her care, though she has only been convicted for killing a baby girl at a Kerrville clinic. She was originally sentenced to 99 years in prison, but recent district attorneys have made it a point to keep her behind bars despite her parole by charging her with other infant deaths.
Photo via Texas Department of Justice
The Angel of Death
Today, Genene Jones sits in jail as a woman in her late 60s. Thirty years ago, she was a young nurse that used her profession to kill innocent babies, injecting them with a variety of drugs. Nicknamed the “Angel of Death,” Jones is suspected of murdering about 42 infants under her care, though she has only been convicted for killing a baby girl at a Kerrville clinic. She was originally sentenced to 99 years in prison, but recent district attorneys have made it a point to keep her behind bars despite her parole by charging her with other infant deaths.
Photo via Texas Department of Justice
The Butcher of Elmendorf
Joseph D. Ball spent his post-World War I life as a bootlegger, providing illegal liquor to folks who had the funds. After Prohibition, he opened a saloon called the Sociable Inn in Elmendorf. The saloon featured a pond that was home to six alligators. Not long after the saloon opened, women in the area began going missing – more specifically, women in Ball’s life were disappearing, including barmaids, old girlfriends and his wife. Nicknamed the “Alligator Man,” the “Butcher of Elmendorf” and the “Bluebeard of South Texas,” Ball was reportedly responsible for the death of as many as 20 women in the 1930s, using the alligators to dispose of the bodies if he chose not to bury them in the sand. When Bexar County sheriff’s deputies questioned him about the murders, it’s said that Ball pulled a handgun from the cash register and killed himself.
Photo via Wikipedia
The Butcher of Elmendorf
Joseph D. Ball spent his post-World War I life as a bootlegger, providing illegal liquor to folks who had the funds. After Prohibition, he opened a saloon called the Sociable Inn in Elmendorf. The saloon featured a pond that was home to six alligators. Not long after the saloon opened, women in the area began going missing – more specifically, women in Ball’s life were disappearing, including barmaids, old girlfriends and his wife. Nicknamed the “Alligator Man,” the “Butcher of Elmendorf” and the “Bluebeard of South Texas,” Ball was reportedly responsible for the death of as many as 20 women in the 1930s, using the alligators to dispose of the bodies if he chose not to bury them in the sand. When Bexar County sheriff’s deputies questioned him about the murders, it’s said that Ball pulled a handgun from the cash register and killed himself.
Photo via Wikipedia
The Kids That Were Chained Up Like Dogs
In late April 2016, Bexar County sheriff’s deputies rescued eight children from a home, ranging in age from 10 months to 10 years. Two toddlers were found chained up in the backyard – a 4-year-old boy chained to the ground while a 3-year-old girl was tied to a door using a dog leash. The children suffered a variety of ailments, from broken bones to malnourishment, with the effects lasting months. Deandre Dorch and his girlfriend Porucha Phillips were charged with neglecting Phillips’ own children as well as the tied-up children of Cheryl Reed, who left them in Phillips’ care while she spent time in California.
Photos via Bexar County Jail
The Kids That Were Chained Up Like Dogs
In late April 2016, Bexar County sheriff’s deputies rescued eight children from a home, ranging in age from 10 months to 10 years. Two toddlers were found chained up in the backyard – a 4-year-old boy chained to the ground while a 3-year-old girl was tied to a door using a dog leash. The children suffered a variety of ailments, from broken bones to malnourishment, with the effects lasting months. Deandre Dorch and his girlfriend Porucha Phillips were charged with neglecting Phillips’ own children as well as the tied-up children of Cheryl Reed, who left them in Phillips’ care while she spent time in California.
Photos via Bexar County Jail
The Murder of Madalyn Murray O'Hair
American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair first gained fame for 1963’s Murray v. Curlett in which she challenged mandatory prayers and Bible reading in public schools in Baltimore. It was deemed unconstitutional. She then used her voice to call for the separation of church and state. Decades later, she and one of her sons, Jon Garth, and her adoptive daughter (who was actually her granddaughter) disappeared while on business in San Antonio. Garth Murray had withdrawn large sums of money from American Atheists’ funds prior to his disappearance, causing people to believe that the trio had absconded. In reality, a former AA employee had murdered the Murrays.
Photo via Twitter / ChasingMoonBk
The Murder of Madalyn Murray O'Hair
American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair first gained fame for 1963’s Murray v. Curlett in which she challenged mandatory prayers and Bible reading in public schools in Baltimore. It was deemed unconstitutional. She then used her voice to call for the separation of church and state. Decades later, she and one of her sons, Jon Garth, and her adoptive daughter (who was actually her granddaughter) disappeared while on business in San Antonio. Garth Murray had withdrawn large sums of money from American Atheists’ funds prior to his disappearance, causing people to believe that the trio had absconded. In reality, a former AA employee had murdered the Murrays.
Photo via Twitter / ChasingMoonBk
The Ingram Square Fire
A massive, 4-alarm fire blazed through the Ingram Square shopping center on May 18, 2017. Nearly 100 firefighters were called to the scene where the fire took over multiple units in the strip. As firefighters battled the blaze for hours, two suffered injuries which required hospitalization and one brave soul, Scott Deem, died after he was trapped when part of the building collapsed. He was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty since 1997. Months later, in October, investigators learned that a business owner at the shopping complex, Emond Johnson, intentionally started the fire in an attempt to not pay the $7,000 he owed on his lease. Johnson was charged with murder, arson resulting in death, arson of a building, among others.
Photo via Facebook / San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association
The Ingram Square Fire
A massive, 4-alarm fire blazed through the Ingram Square shopping center on May 18, 2017. Nearly 100 firefighters were called to the scene where the fire took over multiple units in the strip. As firefighters battled the blaze for hours, two suffered injuries which required hospitalization and one brave soul, Scott Deem, died after he was trapped when part of the building collapsed. He was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty since 1997. Months later, in October, investigators learned that a business owner at the shopping complex, Emond Johnson, intentionally started the fire in an attempt to not pay the $7,000 he owed on his lease. Johnson was charged with murder, arson resulting in death, arson of a building, among others.
Photo via Facebook / San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association
The Kidnapping of Archbishop Patrick Flores
In 2000, a man named Nelson Antonio Escolero kidnapped then-Archbishop Patrick Flores and his secretary Myrtle Sanchez. Escolero held the pair hostage for nine hours with what he said was a homemade hand grenade after he approached the beloved religious figure with a list of government officials to contact about an immigration issue. Escolero, of El Salvador, became combative and threatened Flores. He was later found guilty of aggravated kidnapping.
Photo via Twitter / satodaycatholic
The Kidnapping of Archbishop Patrick Flores
In 2000, a man named Nelson Antonio Escolero kidnapped then-Archbishop Patrick Flores and his secretary Myrtle Sanchez. Escolero held the pair hostage for nine hours with what he said was a homemade hand grenade after he approached the beloved religious figure with a list of government officials to contact about an immigration issue. Escolero, of El Salvador, became combative and threatened Flores. He was later found guilty of aggravated kidnapping.
Photo via Twitter / satodaycatholic
The Vandalism of the San Antonio Missions
San Antonians were angered after reports of two missions being defaced with politically-motivated graffitti in June 2018. A day after First Lady Melania Trump wore a jacket that read, “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” after visiting a Texas immigrations detention center, the same message was spray-painted on the walls of Missions San Jose and San Juan. Security footage revealed that three individuals took part in the incident, and were quickly identified as Andres Castaneda, Gabriella Fritz and Sydney Faris. The trio was handed community service and $10,500 in penalties as part of their sentencing.
Photos via Bexar County Jail
The Vandalism of the San Antonio Missions
San Antonians were angered after reports of two missions being defaced with politically-motivated graffitti in June 2018. A day after First Lady Melania Trump wore a jacket that read, “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” after visiting a Texas immigrations detention center, the same message was spray-painted on the walls of Missions San Jose and San Juan. Security footage revealed that three individuals took part in the incident, and were quickly identified as Andres Castaneda, Gabriella Fritz and Sydney Faris. The trio was handed community service and $10,500 in penalties as part of their sentencing.
Photos via Bexar County Jail
”The Devil Made Me Do It”
Otty Sanchez had just given birth to her baby boy just weeks before she mutilated and dismembered him because the devil told her to. In July 2009, a family member found the mutilated body of Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez, just three weeks old. In the 911 phone call, the distraught mother can be heard wailing, “I didn’t mean to do it! He told me to!” A week before Scott’s death, Sanchez had sought mental health treatment after hearing voices telling her that the devil was in her son but the medication she took the day before the murder didn’t have time to take effect. In the end, she killed her son, who she partially consumed because the voices told her the demons inside her stomach would come out if she did so. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to a state mental institution.
Photo via Instagram / murder210
”The Devil Made Me Do It”
Otty Sanchez had just given birth to her baby boy just weeks before she mutilated and dismembered him because the devil told her to. In July 2009, a family member found the mutilated body of Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez, just three weeks old. In the 911 phone call, the distraught mother can be heard wailing, “I didn’t mean to do it! He told me to!” A week before Scott’s death, Sanchez had sought mental health treatment after hearing voices telling her that the devil was in her son but the medication she took the day before the murder didn’t have time to take effect. In the end, she killed her son, who she partially consumed because the voices told her the demons inside her stomach would come out if she did so. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to a state mental institution.
Photo via Instagram / murder210
The Shooting at the 1979 Battle of Flowers Parade
April 27, 1979. The darkest Battle of Flowers parade in San Antonio history brough hysteria to the streets after a man – 64-year-old Ire Attebury – opened fire during the Fiesta celebration. The veteran had stockpiled guns and ammunition in his motor home parked nearby and shot throughout the scene for about 30 minutes. Initially he had shot six police officers, but by the end of the incident he had killed two women – Amelia Castillo and Ida Dollard – and injured more than 50 attendees. Attebury was later found inside the motor home. Investigators are still unsure whether his own bullet or a shot from an officer was the one that killed him.
Photo by Al Guzman for San Antonio Light
The Shooting at the 1979 Battle of Flowers Parade
April 27, 1979. The darkest Battle of Flowers parade in San Antonio history brough hysteria to the streets after a man – 64-year-old Ire Attebury – opened fire during the Fiesta celebration. The veteran had stockpiled guns and ammunition in his motor home parked nearby and shot throughout the scene for about 30 minutes. Initially he had shot six police officers, but by the end of the incident he had killed two women – Amelia Castillo and Ida Dollard – and injured more than 50 attendees. Attebury was later found inside the motor home. Investigators are still unsure whether his own bullet or a shot from an officer was the one that killed him.
Photo by Al Guzman for San Antonio Light