As her daughter clings to life, the mother of a Las Cruces hit-and-run victim told ABC-7 that her daughter was afraid of the man now accused of running over her. She said her daughter had requested a restraining order weeks before the crash to keep him away, but was denied.
"I just always had that gut feeling," said Estella Garcia. "I told her, 'Something's going to happen. Something's going to happen, Sonia.'"
Her daughter, 42-year-old Sonia Castillo, was struck by the driver of a black pick-up truck on December 14, who drove away without rendering aid near Santa Fe Street and Organ Avenue, according to Las Cruces Police. Investigators with LCPD arrested her ex-boyfriend, 38-year-old Angel Saenz Jr., on Sunday in connection with the crime.
Las Cruces Police charged Angel Saenz Jr. with Aggravated Assault Against a Household Member Resulting in Great Bodily Harm, Knowingly Leaving the Scene of an Accident resulting in Great Bodily Harm; and Resisting, Evading or Obstructing Arrest.
"Right away, I just knew," Garcia said. "He goes, 'So you're familiar with Angel?' I said, 'yes.'
Garcia said her daughter had filed a restraining order against Saenz, which was rejected in late November, just weeks before her daughter was critically injured.
Garcia pointed to Facebook posts that concerned her.
"He's been posting he's going to do it," Garcia said. "He's followed through."
She showed ABC-7 a personal Facebook page that belongs to a Las Cruces resident named Angel Saenz that contained at least six posts about someone named Sonia.
On November 27, the user posted: "Sonia, even though you upset me I just got to let you go I have to let you go you're not worth my time."
Two days before Sonia Castillo was hit, the Facebook user posted: "That doesn't mean u don't have to pay ur debts. I've given you enough time to pay up, now I must collect."
Garcia said she perceived those posts as threats. "It's all over Facebook," she said.
According to the LCPD Statement of Facts obtained by ABC-7, Saenz Jr. told detectives he had recently bonded Castillo out of jail and wanted to make sure she showed up for her court appearance so she would not lose his bond money. Saenz Jr. told police he and and Castillo got into an argument on December 14 and Castillo walked away from him.
The document states Saenz Jr. said he went back for his truck and followed Castillo. At one point, he got out of his truck to speak with her, but Castillo allegedly began hitting him and throwing rocks at the vehicle. Saenz Jr. said he got back in his truck, but Castillo walked in front of it and threw a rock, breaking the windshield, according to the document.
Saenz Jr. told detectives he did not want any more damage to his vehicle, so he drove away. As Saenz Jr. was driving away, he told detectives Castillo walked in front of the Ridgeline and Saenz Jr. struck her, the court document states.
When detectives asked Saenz Jr. if he got out of his vehicle to check on Castillo, Saenz Jr. allegedly said he did not because he was scared.
Now, jail records show Saenz is being held with no bond and Castillo is trying to recover in an El Paso hospital.
Castillo's mother said her daughter has multiple skull and facial fractures. She also has a broken spine, broken neck, broken collarbone, broken ribs and a broken leg.
"She's not strong enough to go through surgery," Garcia said Monday night.
Garcia told ABC-7 on Tuesday that she must quickly make the difficult decision of whether to pull her daughter off life support.
"I have faith in the Lord that she'll be okay and that's all that I'm concentrating on is that she comes through," she said.