Former KRGV Reporter Recalls Teen's Disappearance
BROWNSVILLE – A man accused in the disappearance and death of a 13-year-old girl from Harlingen pleaded no contest in court on Wednesday.
Ruben Torres was sentenced to 18 years in prison, with having served 500 days.
Torres was accused of killing Abigail Estrada after she disappeared in 2007. His attorney said they pleaded no contest because there was enough evidence for a jury to possibly be emotionally affected and deliver a guilty verdict.
Estrada’s family spent nearly a decade searching for Abigail. The family’s hope was to get answers from Torres. They want to know where her body is located.
Laura Estrada, Abigail’s aunt, spent the last decade making sure her niece’s disappearance wasn’t forgotten. She said the family is upset about the outcome.
The family was in the courtroom when Torres’ plea was made.
“They’re still soaking it in, still upset about the outcome, in pain,” Estrada said.
Estrada always held a memorial for Abigail on the day she went missing. She faced Torres once the judge sentenced him. She last saw him more than 10 years ago.
She held a picture of Abigail, asking Torres to tell them where the body was.
“I didn’t have any kind of fear. I did have somewhat of anger but I wanted to look him in the eyes, just as he looked Abigail in the eyes before he murdered her,” Estrada said.
Abigail was last seen with Torres. They were in a relationship at the time.
Estrada said her sister-in-law was too trusting.
“Basically it was teenage love, trusted him a little bit more and when she didn’t, it was a little too late,” she said.
It’s believed Torres killed Abigail because she was a witness in a drive-by shooting in which Torres was involved. He was 16 at the time.
A no contest plea means Torres did not admit to the murder but also means he didn’t deny it.
“We have to move on. We’re just hoping and we’re going to pray that he will come to his senses and let us know where she’s at,” Estrada said.
She said they’ll always believe, regardless of his plea, Torres was the one who took Abigail’s life.
Abigail’s mother maintained her public silence after the sentence.
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