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Gilberta ESTRADA

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Hanged three of her small daughters and herself in a closet - One child survives
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: May 29, 2007
Date of birth: 1982
Victims profile: Maria Teresa Estrada, 5; Yaneth "Janet" Frayre, 3; and Magaly Frayre, 21 months (her daughters)
Method of murder: Hanging with pieces of clothing and sashes
Location: Hudson Oaks, Parker County, Texas, USA
Status: Committed suicide by hanging herself the same day
 
 
 
 
 
 

Texas mother hangs self, three daughters

Los Angeles Times

May 30, 2007

HUDSON OAKS, TEXAS A young mother who may have been depressed apparently hanged three of her small daughters and herself in a closet using pieces of clothing and sashes, authorities said Tuesday.

A fourth child, an 8-month-old daughter, was also found dangling in the closet of the family's mobile home but was rescued by the woman's sister.

"It's horrendous. That's all I can say," Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

The woman was identified as Gilberta Estrada, 25. The infant, Evelyn Frayre, was in good condition at a hospital, Fowler said. Authorities did not immediately identify the other children, but Fowler said they were apparently ages 5, 3 and 2.

Filly Echeverria, who said she was the children's godmother, identified the dead as Maria Teresa Estrada, Janet Frayre and Magaly Frayre.

After Estrada failed to show up for work, her sister, who lived nearby, forced her way into the locked residence in the Oak Hills mobile home park, about 25 miles west of Fort Worth in this rural community of 1,600 people.

Alejandra Estrada discovered that the baby was alive when the child made a noise, authorities said. She called 911.

The sheriff said the hangings appeared to be a murder-suicide because the mobile home's doors were locked from the inside and a relative said the woman had been depressed.

The young mother and her girls were last seen alive Monday evening, he said.

The sheriff said Estrada had won a temporary restraining order in August against Gregorio Frayre Rodriguez, who was believed to be the father of the infant and some of the other children, after he reportedly attacked Estrada.

The sheriff said the couple had stopped living together in February.

Tuesday was the first emergency police call to Estrada's mobile home, and authorities said there was no evidence that Frayre had abused the girls.

"I just got a big kick out of watching the kids play over there on her porch, and today it's sad, very sad," neighbor Joyce Harris said as other trailer park residents milled about on their porches, some crying and talking softly about the deaths.

Estrada's mobile home was dilapidated, with paint peeling off the sides. Cactuses and a rose bush decorated the front. Toys and a bicycle littered the backyard.

Texas has had a number of child killings by mothers.

About five years ago, another Hudson Oaks family was torn apart when Dee Etta Perez, 39, shot her three children, ages 4, 9 and 10, before killing herself.

Andrea Yates of Houston drowned her five children in the family's bathtub in 2001.

In 2003, Deanna Laney beat her two young sons to death with stones in East Texas, and Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her daughters in a Plano bathtub.

Dena Schlosser fatally severed her 10-month-old daughter's arms with a kitchen knife in 2004.

The four women were found innocent by reason of insanity. Yates initially was convicted of capital murder, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

 
 

Texas has seen a rash of child killings by mothers in recent years.

In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the bathtub of their Clear Lake home. In 2003, Deanna Laney beat her two young sons to death with stones in East Texas, and Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her two daughters in a Plano bathtub. Dena Schlosser fatally severed her 10-month-old daughter's arms with a kitchen knife in 2004.

All four of those women were found innocent by reason of insanity. Yates initially was convicted of capital murder, but that was overturned on appeal.

 
 

Case worker: Texas mom wanted new life

By Angela K. Brown, Associated Press

May 30, 2007

HUDSON OAKS, Texas After gathering the courage to leave the common-law husband she described as abusive, Gilberta Estrada was determined to make a better life for herself and her young daughters just a few years after arriving from Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Pregnant with her fourth daughter, she moved into a women's shelter, where she learned to ride the bus to her doctor's appointments. She got a work permit and began a job at a fast-food restaurant. Finally, a few weeks after baby Evelyn was born, she moved into her own mobile home.

"I remember her telling me, 'I am worth something. I am doing this for me, and I am doing this for my girls,'" said Evelyn Haro, a case worker at SafeHaven of Tarrant County. "She said, 'I'm going to be OK.' Her self-esteem was building up."

Authorities say Estrada apparently performed a murder-suicide this week inside her locked trailer, stringing up herself and her four girls using nooses fashioned from clothing and sashes. Her sister discovered the bodies Tuesday. The only survivor was 8-month-old Evelyn Frayre, who was named after the case worker at the shelter where her mother stayed.

Officials said a relative described Estrada as depressed, but the news stunned the women's shelter and those who worked with her. Estrada had been planning the baby's baptism, Haro said, and seemed to have turned her life around.

"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."

The infant was released from a hospital Wednesday to the custody of Child Protective Services, which will temporarily place her with a foster family. Dr. Kimberly Aaron, medical director of emergency services at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, called the infant a "miracle."

The doctor attributed the baby's survival to the fact that she weighed only 20 pounds and that her neck was protected by fatty tissue that kept it from breaking while she was suspended in the closet. The baby has no brain damage, and no-long term problems are expected, Aaron said.

The baby's constant smile, babbling and bouncing to music charmed the nurses, she said.

"She has a very happy, playful disposition," Aaron said.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled Estrada's death a suicide and the deaths of Maria Teresa Estrada, 5; Yaneth "Janet" Frayre, 3; and Magaly Frayre, 21 months, all homicides.

Although there were indications of depression, there was no documented history of suicide attempts and no evidence of antidepressants in the home, the medical examiner's office said. There was also no suicide note.

The child's father, Gregorio Frayre Rodriguez, went to the hospital but was not allowed to see the baby because of a protective court order issued in August after Gilberta Estrada claimed he abused her and tried to hit one of the children.

Contact information for Frayre listed in court papers appeared to obsolete Wednesday.

Gilberta Estrada claimed Frayre had been abusive since the couple began living together in 2003, at times pulling her hair, slapping her, trying to strangle her and once forcing her to have sex, according to court documents.

In June, he raised his hand to the oldest child, 5-year-old Maria, when the girls were fighting over a toy, and then kicked Estrada and pulled the phone out of her hand when she tried calling 911, according to documents.

About a week after that, Estrada left Frayre and took her children to a shelter in Weatherford. Because workers could not speak Spanish, Estrada was sent the next day to a SafeHaven of Tarrant County shelter in Fort Worth, about 25 miles east.

Estrada said she stayed in the abusive relationship because she had been too afraid to call police, fearing she might be deported because she had entered the country illegally, Haro said. Estrada said in court documents that Frayre also was the father of 3-year-old Yaneth "Janet" Frayre and 21-month-old Magaly Frayre.

But while living at the shelter which helped her get a work permit from mid-June to late September, Estrada's fear of being on her own slowly faded, Haro said. Estrada left the shelter a few weeks after giving birth to Evelyn in September, saying she would live in a trailer across the street from her sister in Hudson Oaks, just outside Weatherford.

Donna Guion, a SafeHaven attorney who represented Estrada in the child custody case, said Frayre had not paid the $300 monthly child support since December. But Guion said Estrada was not depressed by those things.

Just two weeks ago, Estrada called Haro to ask whether she had received some pictures of the children. Haro said she asked about the baptism and was told she would be invited.

"I'm in shock because that was the last person I would expect something like that to happen to," Haro said. "She was my success story. I told her, 'I'm so proud of you.'"

 
 


Gilberta Estrada and two of her daughters Janet Frayre, left,
and Magaly Frayre, in Hudson Oaks, Texas.
(Family photo/AP photo)

 

 

 
 
 
 
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