The family of border patrol agent Esteban Manzanares say they have no idea what could have led him to his apparent suicide, and they find allegations he kidnapped and assaulted a group of women who crossed the border even harder to comprehend.
"It's really hard to believe," said Susan Manzanares, the ex-wife of 32-year-old Manzanares, who grew up in McAllen, Texas. She described him as a kind-hearted man who was a good father to his two small children, who have cystic fibrosis.
The FBI has declined to discuss specifics of the case, but authorities said they found Manzanares dead of a self-inflicted gun shot, and a bound and naked young woman in his apartment. Investigators narrowed in on Manzanares after finding blood and remnants of duct tape inside the vehicle he had been assigned for that day's shift, according to an official.
The investigation started after border patrol agents found an older woman with cut and bloodied wrists near the U.S.-Texas border. She said she and two other young women had turned themselves in to an agent after crossing the border from Honduras. She said the man took them away from the area, assaulted them and left with one of the younger women.
The women were treated for non-life threatening injuries. Their future in the country remains uncertain.
After the attack, the new Customs and Border Protection commissioner, R. Gil Kerlikowske, apologized for the incident. "I want you to know that I consider these actions, if true, to be reprehensible and I know they are not representative of the agents of the U.S. Border Patrol."
"We want the truth, even if the truth is something my sister and I and everybody else doesn't want to hear," said Ceniceros, an Army soldier who drove to the Rio Grande Valley from El Paso, Texas, after hearing about her former brother-in-law's death.
--The Associated Press