In the early morning of July 24, 2000, police were called to an apartment complex in Edinburg, Texas after a report that a child had been kidnapped. Officers at the scene learned that 2-year-old Estrella Rojas and her mother’s boyfriend were missing after a heated discussion between Estrella’s mother and her boyfriend only hours before.
Estrella’s mother told police that after the exchange, she, her boyfriend and Estrella all went to sleep on the same bed. Upon waking up a few hours later, Estrella’s mother discovered that both her daughter and boyfriend were missing. Because of their earlier discussion, Estrella’s mother became concerned for her daughter’s safety and alerted authorities believing her boyfriend intended to harm her daughter. Shortly afterward, her mother’s boyfriend returned to the apartment and denied having any knowledge of Estrella’s whereabouts. Edinburg police and fire department crews searched the areas surrounding the neighborhood but could not find any sign of little Estrella Rojas.
Her mother’s boyfriend was arrested for an unrelated offence and was questioned about the kidnapping while in custody. It was then that the boyfriend admitting to kidnapping and killing Estrella, but refused to disclose the location of her body to authorities. After further questioning, her mother’s boyfriend then agreed to lead authorities to the location where he hid Estrella’s body. Edinburg police then charged him with capital murder. The Hidalgo County District Attorney took the case to trial and he was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
In memory of Estrella Rojas, Estrella’s House was founded to provide a safe haven with a child-friendly, non-institutional environment where young victims are not afraid to tell their story. Because of Estrella’s House and the efforts of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo County, the memory of our little star lives on with a legacy of hope and justice for other local victims of child abuse.