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After adopted parents' arrest, S.A. woman shares horrific story of 15+ years of sexual abuse


Court records claim the husband and wife forced the girl into threesomes, which resulted in three children who were led to believe their real mother was their older sister.

By Caleb Downs

Laura and Eusebio Castillo's home on the Southeast Side of San Antonio was a place where "miracles" occurred on a weekly basis.

Every Sunday, hundreds of believers would flock to St. Peregrine Chapel, a little shed in the back of the Castillos' home, to visit an 8-year-old girl they claimed as their daughter. The child was said to be capable of curing cancer.

"The Miracle Child," often seen wearing an oversized crucifix necklace and white lace veil, was the talk of San Antonio in early 2013, even garnering two stories on Fox's San Antonio affiliate, KABB-TV.

But when the cameras and congregants left, the Castillo home transformed.

According to documents obtained by mySA.com, Laura and Eusebio allegedly committed numerous rapes and assaults against the Miracle Child's true mother, Abigail Alvarado, who was the Castillos' adopted daughter and niece.

The Miracle Child and two other children were born from the alleged rapes, according to forensic lab reports that found a match between the DNA of the children and that of Eusebio.

Laura and Eusebio are now facing charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony. Police in San Juan, Texas, a small city in the Rio Grande Valley, arrested the couple on warrants issued from Bexar County. Eusebio was transferred to the Bexar County Jail on Feb. 22, Laura on June 1. Both are being held on $75,000 bonds.

The Castillos are both scheduled to make a court appearance on August 7. If convicted of the charges against them, they could face up to 99 years in prison.

Attorneys for Laura and Eusebio did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Castillos' arrests mark the peak of a years-long investigation that began on July 20, 2014, when Abigail, who goes by Abby, now an adult who wants her story told, informed police of the abuse she had endured since at least age 9.

Abby, now 28, first approached mySA.com following the news of the arrest of Eusebio, who is her uncle and adopted father. She says the years she spent with the Castillos were marked by brainwashing, manipulation, stalking, assault and horror. Rape, lies and threats were part of her daily routine, and she says the only reasons she didn't hurt herself or someone else were her children, who were born out of the abuse and will remain unnamed at her request.

"I was depressed all the time," Abby said. "I wouldn't eat. I would think of suicide. And I stopped it all because of the kids. Who was going to take care of my kids? I thought, 'If I die, my kids are next in line.'"

The path toward her alleged abusers began in 1996 in San Antonio, when she was 8 years old. Child Protective Services took her and her younger brother and older sister away from their mother, Maria Rodriguez, due to her addiction to drugs and alcohol and inability to care for her children. Rodriguez, now sober for more than three years, admits her addiction was a problem.

"I felt like I put them through that because of my alcoholism," she said, quiet and teary, during a phone interview. "If I would've quit drinking maybe they wouldn't have taken them from me. If I could change things around, I would do it differently. I trusted him, you know."

After the state took custody of Abby and her siblings, they were placed in a shelter, where they remained until her older sister brought up the idea of contacting their uncle Eusebio, Rodriguez' brother who was a sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Eusebio and Laura agreed to take care of the children. Authorities granted the Castillos guardianship, Abby said, and they later legally adopted the siblings. The three children were flown out to Schofield Barracks, where they began their lives with their new caretakers.

Abby alleges the abuse began almost immediately.

Within three months of moving to Hawaii, she said, Eusebio was climbing up into her bunk bed at night and molesting her. She tried to tell Laura about the abuse after the third night it happened, she said, but Laura dismissed her.

"I told her, and she didn't believe me," Abby said. "She ignored it, and she said she didn't believe me."

The abuse continued, Abby said. Abby claims she was the only sibling targeted throughout the years the siblings lived with the Castillos. She said she's not sure if her brother and sister knew what was going on in the house, but if they did, they never tried to stop it.

Abby said her sister tried get help from Child Protective Services years later, but she claimed Eusebio had her so afraid of being jailed herself that she refused to cooperate with the investigation.

In 2001, Eusebio left the Army, and the family moved to Houston, then Laredo. By that time, Abby was in her early teens, and the situation at home had worsened from molestation to outright rape, according to Abby. Laura had also begun "helping out," she said.

"Threesomes" with her adopted parents, said Rudy Alvarado, Abby's 34-year-old husband, with a severe matter-of-factness to his voice. "[Laura] couldn't stop him. She didn't want to lose him. So to not lose him, she allowed him to do whatever he wanted."

According to Laura's indictment, she forced Abby to perform sexual acts on Eusebio and herself, and she and Eusebio forced sexual acts upon Abby. In the indictment, prosecutors listed Feb. 16, 2004, as the earliest date of alleged abuse. Abby would have been 15 at that time, though she claims the two began assaulting her earlier than that. She says Eusebio began molesting her at age 9 and raping her around age 13.

Graphic details of the alleged abuse will be withheld from this story, but the indictment accuses both Laura and Eusebio of forcing Abby to "submit and participate by the physical use of force and violence."

Abby said she thought of contacting law enforcement authorities, but Eusebio was constantly threatening her and physically assaulting her if she disobeyed, allegations that appear to be reiterated by Laura's indictment, which claims Abby was threatened with bodily injury on numerous occasions.

"I'm an easy bruiser," Abby said during a recent interview, Rudy visibly upset at her side. "He'd hit me in the shoulder, the stomach. Everywhere it can't be seen. I wasn't allowed to wear shorts or tank tops."

Around the spring of 2004, Eusebio's jealousy and desperation for Abby intensified, she said. Abby recalled the night of her 8th grade dance as an example.

As she dressed up for the dance in her room, she said Eusebio stood nearby, drinking and spewing the words "bitch" and "slut" at her, jealous at the fact she'd soon be dancing with other boys. Laura later drove her to the dance.

At the end of the night, Abby said, Eusebio appeared on the dancefloor with a bouquet of roses for her and apologized profusely for what he had said to her.

After Abby graduated from 8th grade, the family moved to Mission, Texas. She was 15 as she entered high school, having been delayed in school by the numerous relocations throughout her childhood, she said.

It was in Mission, less than a semester into her high school education, that Laura came to her and demanded she become a "surrogate mother" for Eusebio's children, as Laura was unable to conceive with him, Abby said.

"You're going to have this baby. There's no saying no," Laura said, according to Abby.

Months later, Abby was trying to hide her pregnant belly at school. She had to lie about who the father was, claiming a boy from a different high school was responsible. As a 17-year-old sophomore, she gave birth to her first child. She walked the graduation stage at the age of 20 in 2008, pregnant with her second child. Three years later, she gave birth to her youngest, a boy.

The children were raised believing Abby was their older sister, and Laura and Eusebio were their actual parents. Photos from Laura's now-deleted Facebook profile show her and Eusebio posing with the children, accompanied by captions portraying Eusebio as the father, and herself as the mother. They looked like any other family at Disneyland.

After Abby graduated from high school, in 2009, the Castillos left Mission and moved to San Antonio, where Abby met the man who she says saved her from the Castillos: Rudy.

Rudy and Abby met at her home in the 200 block of McLaughlin Avenue around 2013.

The Castillos' St. Peregrine Chapel, named after the patron saint for people suffering from cancer, was rapidly gaining popularity at the time. The chapel was founded with the help of Archbishop John Parnell, the primate of the Mexican National Catholic Church, an obscure branch of the Catholic Church that is believed to have begun in the 1920s during the Mexican Revolution.

"It's disgusting that this went on," said Parnell, who says he was unaware of the alleged abuse like everyone else. "They were such good actors. All the deception to try to make some money. I was so sad for such a long time about those kids being used the way they were. It made me not believe in people. I lost a lot of my faith in people."

Parnell claims Laura told him about "her daughter's" cancer-curing gift after she attended one of his services in Edinburg featuring Alberto Salinas, a well-known "curandero" (healer) in the Rio Grande Valley. Parnell agreed to hold a service with the girl at the Castillos' home in San Antonio one Sunday in 2013.

"Four weeks later it was on TV," he said.

Parnell said he believes that Salinas' healing abilities, and the donations with which they were rewarded, gave "conniving" Laura the idea to spread the word that Abby's eldest child, whom she claimed was her own daughter, was a saint as a money-making scheme.

Sunday visitors, he said, "would go up to [the child] for prayer. They'd form a line and it would just go to infinity. I mean, all the way across the yard and down the driveway. I would pass the basket down the line, and one-by-one they'd make a donation to [the child]. Then I gave the basket to Laura and Eusebio. They just made a fortune."

Rudy, who said he used to believe in the type of mystical Catholicism practiced by the MNCC and worked as a healer, was an acquaintance of Parnell, who brought him to the church on McLaughlin one Sunday and introduced him to the Castillos.

"[Parnell] introduced me to Laura, and Eusebio pointed to 'his children,' these nice, small, tiny, beautiful children," Rudy said. "Then I see Abby, and I see a little bit of a tummy, like someone has after they have a baby."

"Are these your kids?" he asked later that day.

Rudy said Abby told him they weren't, so he ignored it, but that impression stuck with him.
"I noticed it almost right away. Almost immediately," he said. "Over the course of a few weeks I started putting the pieces together."

Rudy figured the kids weren't Eusebio and Laura's, and that they were probably Abby's, but he never could have guessed who the father was, and it wasn't until months later that he found out.

Rudy, who has two kids of his own from a previous marriage, said he and Abby started falling in love quickly, spending as much time together as they could on Sundays and trying to Facebook chat with each other while apart.

But something was always off, he said. Abby would suddenly end the chat or go missing for months. It drove him crazy.

"And in the midst of all that, I got like a vision. Just a straight up vision," Rudy said. "I was in a prison compound, and there was the good side of me and the bad side of me, and I was helping and hurting people. At the end of the vision, there was a breakout in the prison, and as I was leaving, I saw a hooded girl in a cell. So I run inside the cell, flip her hood and I see Abby. And then I woke up."

The vision confounded Rudy and urged him to dig deeper, he said. So he kept pursuing Abby, not giving up on her despite her odd behavior.

Meanwhile, Abby was walking a tightrope at home, trying to stay true to Rudy and placate Eusebio enough so that he wouldn't injure her children, she said. In early 2014, before Rudy and Abby really began dating in secret, Laura and Eusebio walked into her room and began preparing to sexually assault her, she said. Abby said she felt like she'd be cheating on Rudy, so she tried to stop them. Instead, Eusebio came at her "full force," she said.

Abby said she began a full-on rebellion after that, questioning why her parents continued to assault her even though she had given them everything they had asked for. The situation came to a head soon after, when Abby, fully in love with Rudy, told Laura and Eusebio there was another person in her life.

According to Rudy, Laura "beat the living crap" out of Abby that day. Eusebio drank heavily every night, threatening Abby and her children, they both claimed. According to his affidavit, Eusebio on one occasion became frightened that Abby would report his abuse to authorities, so he doused himself and his house in gasoline and threatened to burn everything down, including her children.

"There was no guilt," Abby said. "He just didn't want to be caught by the police."

Despite the terrors at home, Abby tried to hide the truth from Rudy for fear he would leave her if he knew who the real father of her children was. But Rudy finally pried it out of her. He told her he was in love with her, but she needed to tell him what was going on or he would have to leave. Alvarado caved.

"Those three kids are mine," Abby told him.

"Alright, I already kind of figured that," Rudy said.

"Eusebio is their dad," she said.

Rudy said the revelation stunned him. She asked if he was going to leave her. Rudy said he wouldn't, and that he'd do everything he could to get her out. Abby didn't want to go to the police immediately for fear of retaliation by Eusebio, and she believed she would also go to jail, so the two tried to maintain their difficult relationship with both Eusebio and Laura still hovering around.

Abby finally broke in April 2014, when Laura became ill and was taken to the hospital, and Eusebio thought she was going to die.

"After she dies, it's me and you," Eusebio said, according to Abby. "We're going to get married and have more kids and continue the chapel. On the outside we'll be father and daughter, but on the inside we're married."

Soon after the conversation with Eusebio, she called Rudy and told him to come pick her up. Rudy wanted to go straight to the police once Abby was out of the Castillo house, but she was still scared on behalf of her children, so she begged him to hold off. And he did, until July 2014 after several successive days in which he says Eusebio called his house, breathed into the phone and said nothing.

"The third day I got fed up," Rudy said. "I told him 'I was going to leave you alone, but since you keep pushing and you want to act like a stalker and a piece of sh-t, I'm going to f---ing come after you. Get ready you son of a bitch, because you're going to prison.' And then I hung up."

Rudy took Abby to a police station, and they told the story. But by the time police got around to investigating, it was already too late. Eusebio and Laura were gone.

"They sold the house and everything in it for $2,000 to two ladies who owned a pawn shop, and then they were gone," Rudy said. "We took whatever the women allowed us to take, maybe two bags of clothes. No dressers, no bunk beds, no nothing. All of that they kept."

Laura and Eusebio's whereabouts were unknown until December 2016, more than two years later, when Laura, who claims she suffers from lupus, posted a GoFundMe page to her Facebook account to try to raise money for medical expenses. On the GoFundMe page, under a photo of Laura's face with a flowery Snapchat filter around it, was a listed location of San Juan, Texas.

Within two months, police had obtained a warrant for Eusebio's DNA, which came back from a forensic lab as a match with Abby's children. Because of the nature of the sexual assaults, DNA evidence would not work in the criminal case against Laura, but prosecutors were able to indict her on a charge of aggravated sexual assault based on witness testimony.

"It feels great to be part of the investigation," said Det. Miles McPeak, who collected evidence and orchestrated Eusebio's arrest with assistance from the San Juan Police Department. "Catching the bad guys, that's what I do over here."

McPeak said all of the cases he works on as a sex crimes investigator are disturbing, but the familial aspect of the Castillos' alleged crimes was particularly disturbing.

Rudy and Abigail said they are relieved and grateful for the arrests, though they know they'll have more struggles ahead. Abby said she has begun the healing process, but she still suffers from severe paranoia. Rudy said it was difficult at first to get her to leave the house, for fear of Laura or Eusebio finding her.

"She'd have nightmares," Rudy said. "I would have to hold her every night. All girls like to be held, but this was different. I just told her you'll never see him again, unless it's in court or in prison."

One aspect of her new life that's helping her adjust is rebuilding a family with Rudy's relatives and her own estranged relatives. Abby recently reconnected with Rodriguez, who said she's doing everything she can to be available for her daughter and grandchildren like she "should have been." Abby said she holds nothing against her mother, but Rodriguez said guilt and anger remain with her.

"To be honest, I wanted for someone to look for [Eusebio] and do the same thing to him or to kill him," Rodriguez said. "He was supposed to be a superhero for my kids. I just can't believe he's done something like that to his own family. Nobody deserves to go through that."

Abby is now preparing herself for the trial. She says she's intimidated, but she wants to share her story so that other women who are going through a similar situation know that they have options, and that they can speak out and someone will help them.

She also wants people to hear her story so that if they notice something unusual or off about somebody they know, they don't assume everything is fine. Do something, she asks.


2017 Jun 13