Very little information regarding motive have been released since the discovery of two Rio Grande City ISD employees, Wednesday morning, March 23. The victims, identified as Oneida Alanis Balderas Garza and Lourdes M. Elizondo(Luna) were found bound, and shot in the head “execution style”, this according from Law Enforcement officials, who arrived on scene shortly after 9:30 a.m.
The investigation was immediately turned over to the Texas Rangers, as it became known that Lourdes Elizondo (Luna), had been married and in the process of divorce from a Starr County Sheriff Investigator, Osby G. Luna. As in the case with most homicides, it is natural to assume involvement or some suspicion on the spouse, and even more so if going through something as emotional such as a divorce. However, it’s important to note that neither law enforcement, nor Starr County District Attorney, Omar Escobar, have officially named Luna as a person of interest.
Outside typical procedural investigation, such as questioning the spouse, and work colleagues, those investigating have not expressed any possible motives. As of now, the Starr County Sheriff’s Department as issued a $10,000 reward for anyone that can offer any information that can break the case wide open. One facebook user, who commented on The Monitors follow up regarding the case, weighed in calling it a “crime of passion”. However little is known regarding the relationship Luna had with Elizondo at the time of death, to make a conclusion. What’s important to know is the condition in which both victims were found, both being bound at the wrist, don’t really demonstrate the nature of passion crimes. Here’s a brief definition of a “crime of passion.”
“A crime of passion, or crime passionnel (from French), in popular usage, refers to a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage rather than as a premeditated crime.”
Therefore, being found bound and shot doesn’t necessarily follow the above description. In addition, even if such a motive were the case, it doesn’t explain Balderas-Garza’s connection to the murder. Being bound, especially binding two victims requires time, and requires materials to accomplish. Perpetrators have to be conscious of that fact. And tying up two people, even while armed, and regardless of the victims being women, is still no easy task. It is of my opinion that there was more than one perpetrator involved. One to keep arms on the victims, for compliance, and one to tie them up. If the motive was simply to ambush and murder these two women, then the suspects simply would have ambushed them and shot them with no extraordinary consideration of time, other than the time needed to escape. It is likely, and of my opinion that whoever committed these murders was doing it for two reasons, to extract information, and likely information both Balderas-Garza, and Elizondo share. The other reason is for elimination. As of this writing, no details regarding whether the house showed signs of ransacking have been disclosed.
And the victims did share plenty of information, as both were employed by Rio Grande City ISD. According to a budget found online, Alaniz was a “Compliance Auditor”, and Elizondo is listed as an “accountant.” I couldn’t pull of an official RGC ISD job description for the Compliance Officer position, but here’s a general description from Monster.com
Compliance Auditor Job Responsibilities:
Protects assets by completing audits; ensuring compliance with regulations and internal controls; recommending improvements in internal control structure; guiding the work of auditors.
Essentially, an auditor views financial data, and ensures that routine transactions, financial statements, all follow controls and procedures in set in place to maintain internal controls, and many a time to prevent fraudulent activity to take place. Example, an auditor would be able to trace transferring or receiving of funds by looking at bank statement activity, and cash balances, external sources from funding agencies that confirm disbursements, and ultimately tracing them into a general ledger.
It’s important to not overlook the connection between the duties of both Elizondo and Alaniz in handling the finances of RGC ISD, in addition to anyone else that may be involved in the process. I’m in no way accusing Elizondo and Alaniz of any criminal wrong doing, however, this connection cannot be ignored by investigators.
It would appear that Oneida was also involved in overseeing the payroll process.
A BREAK IN THE CASE?
According to The Monitor, Texas Rangers are making headway in the case, but have not revealed specifics on what more information they’ve come to know. If they are closer to breaking the case, then they must not be sharing information with Starr County District Attorney, Omar Escobar, or the Star County Sheriff’s Department, being that they now raised the reward for any information that may assist in the investigation from $10,000 to $20,000
I’ve noticed an increase in traffic and interest in this article. I’d like to thank whomever was instrumental in linking this article and allowing new audiences to get a particular insight into the murders that the established media didn’t touch on. When this article was originally written, there was very little information to go by, and even today very little has been shared by authorities within Starr County and Texas Department of Public Safety. Just recently, Texas Ranger issued search warrants on Osdy Luna, and other undisclosed individuals, but as of today, details of what was being searched and seized have not be disclosed.