Pharr, TX – Police said a man was beaten to death and dumped in a field by his two stepsons after their nine-year-old sister said he had sexually abused her.
The body of 42-year-old Gabriel Quintanilla was discovered in a McAllen field by a farmer on the afternoon of Jan. 20, KRGV reported.
Investigators determined Quintanilla was pummeled repeatedly with brass knuckles, leaving him with severe head trauma.
Police said they believe he may have still been alive when he was dumped in the field by his stepsons, 17-year-old Christian Trevino and 18-year-old Alejandro Trevino, and their friend, 18-year-old Eduardo Melendez, KRGV reported.
The brutal attack occurred after the Trevino brothers’ nine-year-old sister said Quintanilla had sexually abused her at an RV park located in the 1200-block of East Moore.
“When brothers [Alejandro] and Christian Trevino found out, they became enraged and confronted Gabriel Quintanilla at the residence,” the Pharr Police Department (PPD) said in a press release. “A physical fight ensued between the three and the victim Quintanilla left the location on foot.”
The brothers allegedly chased him down and assaulted him a second time at a nearby apartment complex with the assistance of Melendez, KRGV reported.
The three suspects then left the scene, picked up a different vehicle, and returned to find their injured stepfather walking alone, according to police.
They allegedly beat him for a third time and loaded him into the bed of a pickup truck before driving out the field in McAllen and dumping him there, KRGV reported.
Investigators said they believe Quintanilla was still alive when he was left in the field.
Christian Trevino and Melendez were arrested on charges of capital murder, engaging in criminal activity, and aggravated assault, KRGV reported.
Alejandro Trevino was arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated assault.
They are each being held on at least $1 million bond, according to KSAT.
Investigators said the Trevino brothers have different mothers and are the little girl’s half-brothers, the Brownsville Herald reported.
Quintanilla is the nine-year-old girl’s biological father, PPD Chief Andy Harvey clarified during a media briefing on Tuesday.
The PPD said Quintanilla also had a warrant out for his arrest for an unrelated case involving family violence and continuous sexual assault of a child at the time of his death, according to KRGV.
That case involved a separate victim who was allegedly abused by Quintanilla from 2014 until 2016, Chief Harvey said.
Those allegations came to light in May of 2019 and investigators obtained the warrant for his arrest, but the suspect went into hiding.
“He has been eluding us since then,” Chief Harvey confirmed.
Chief Harvey said his agency understands “the sentiment and the attention that this case has drawn.”
He said the three suspects have all been very cooperative with investigators and provided “full statements” about what occurred.
“This investigation was complex having multiple scenes,” Chief Harvey added. “I am proud of how our detectives were able to put the pieces together in such a short time.”