Gilberta Estrada is the woman who authorities say performed a murder-suicide this week inside of her own locked trailer. She hanged herself and her four daughters with nooses fashioned from clothing and sashes. She was a young woman who was originally determined to make a better life for herself and her children after leaving her common-law husband that she had described as abusive.
Estrada arrived here from Tamaulipas, Mexico, being pregnant with her fourth daughter. She moved into a women’s shelter, learned to ride a bus so she could get to her doctor’s appointments, and acquired a work-permit so that she could get a job at a local fast food restaurant. When her fourth little girl was born, she moved into her own mobile home.
Evelyn Haro is a caseworker that helped Estrada at SafeHaven in Tarranr County. She was quoted as saying that she remembers Estrada saying, “I am worth something. I am doing this for me, and I am doing this for my girls. I’m going to be OK.” Haro believes that her self-esteem was also building up, according to the Associated Press. The news shocked the girls in the women’s shelter that had worked with her. They all believed that she was turning her life around.
Estrada was said to be depressed by officials, which the shelter understood. “Obviously, every client that comes into the shelter is going to have a difficult time, and at times she was sad, but she was so eager to do better for her daughters,” Haro said. “There was nothing to raise a red flag to me. She would always have a smile, and she loved, loved, loved those little girls,” according to the Associated Press.
There were signs of depression from Estrada. But, authorities found no suicide note, no antidepressants, and no documented incidents of suicide attempts. The death of Estrada was labeled a suicide, while the deaths of her children, Maria Teresa Estrada, 5; Yaneth “Janet” Frayre, 3; and Magaly Frayre, 21 months, are all considered homicides.
The baby was the only survivor. Doctors say that since the baby was only 20 pounds, and that her neck was protected by fatty tissue, is the main cause the infant survived the attempted strangulation. She has no brain damage, and no-long term problems are expected. The baby will be placed temporarily with a foster family, as the father is not allowed to see the baby due to a protective order against him.
Estrada claimed that Frayre, her common-law husband, had been abusive since the couple began living together back in 2003. She claims he pulled her hair, slapped her, tried to strangle her, and once attempted rape. She also alleged that he raised his hand to their 5-year-old, and that she stayed with him for so long over fear that the authorities would deport her for being in the country illegally.
Haro said that Estrada was not depressed, and that just two weeks ago invited her to the babies baptism. “I’m in shock because that was the last person I would expect something like that to happen to,” Haro told the AP. “She was my success story. I told her, ‘I’m so proud of you.”
originally reported By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer ,” Case worker: Texas mom wanted new life ”