Ganado homicde suspect arrested in North Texas

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

March 22, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated March 22, 2013 at 10:23 p.m.

Yolanda Rodriguez tries to take her brother with her every day to work.

She knows he can't be there physically but pinning a smiling photograph of Fred Castillo Anzaldua to a board above her desk comforts her.

More than a month after neighbors found Anzaldua dead in the front yard of a white, one-story home in the 200 block of Farm-to-Market Road 1683 in Ganado, she still tosses and turns at night.

The rumors circulating in the small towns of Ganado and El Campo coupled with the fact that the suspect believed to be responsible - Robert Garcia Perez, 31 - eluded Jackson County Sheriff's deputies also did little to quell her worries.

"I've lost a lot of weight. I'm just not eating right," she said, choking back tears.

This time, though, they were tears of happiness. Shortly after clocking out for the weekend, Rodriguez learned that U.S. marshals caught Perez.

He was hiding with his father in Wheeler County and apprehended without incident about 11 a.m. Friday, said Investigator Gary Smejkal.

Perez was arrested on charges of murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.

"We're happy that this phase of the investigation is over," Smejkal said, declining to release what may have been the motive in the crime.

The Anzaldua family is now relieved. They hope the circumstances surrounding their brother, father and husband's death Feb. 3 will become more clear at trial.

"Whoever was involved in this murder may God have mercy on their souls," said Anzaldua's wife, Cheryl.

She had prayed about it a lot and decided forgiveness was integral to her Christian faith.

"It's hard right now," Cheryl Anzaldua said. "He was a fun-loving, free spirit. He was my best friend. He was the love of my life."

She recalled last speaking to her husband Feb. 2.

He had a lot on his mind at the time, but the couple, who had recently reunited after 4 1/2 years of separation, excitedly planned a Valentine's Day get together.

She never imagined she'd go to the morgue on the day they were supposed to rekindle their romance.

"I told him, 'I kept my promise, baby. I'm here. Just not in the way you thought,'" Cheryl Anzaldua said.

His daughter, Diana Anzaldua, is also happy about the arrest but struggling to make sense of what happened that night at a house neighbors say was known for its parties.

She last saw her father when he visited her, his other three children and six grandchildren in Austin about a year and a half ago.

The University of Texas student who now works in the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department was upset that she wasn't immediately notified about developments in the case.

"I don't understand, but maybe we can start having some closure, and my father can finally get some justice," Diana Anzaldua said.

His son, Jose "Joe" Angel Anzaldua, agreed.

"It seems like everybody else could've found something out in a big city, but in a little town nobody knows anything. It's just crazy. ... If this was an accident, he (Perez) should have dropped him off at the hospital," he said, adding he regrets not taking his 1-year-old son to meet his grandfather.

Jackson County Sheriff A.J. "Andy" Louderback said he expects Perez will be in the county jail sometime early next week.

And Jackson County Criminal District Attorney Bobby Bell said Perez's case will be one of 51 heard by a grand jury meeting Monday.

A grand jury determines whether there's enough evidence to charge someone with a crime or indict them.

Fred Castillo Anzaldua's cause of death has not been determined, but Smejkal said he will likely get a full autopsy report from the Travis County Medical Examiner's office in a few weeks.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, said she'll have to cope with never again getting an unexpected visit from her brother.

"I miss that," Rodriguez said. "He was always telling me that I was his favorite. I was his favorite. I'm not going to see him anymore."

Advocate reporter Caty Hirst contributed to this report.



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