Crime continued unabated in the frontier that was Duval County

Headstone of Paulino Coy. (From
The notorious Nueces County deputy sheriff Paulino Coy kept himself busy bringing in alleged bad guys throughout 1885. Fortunately for the bad guys, none tried to escape and the deputy saved the county money on ammo and pauper burials.

Early in the year, Coy went to Cameron County to bring back Guadalupe Longoria who Sheriff Brito of Cameron County had arrested. Longoria had several indictments pending against him in Nueces County and law enforcement officials believed him to be a member of the Abrigo gang who had escaped after a recent shootout in which authorities shot and killed Abrigo. Longoria supposedly admitted taking horses he stole from Cameron County ranchers to Nueces and Duval Counties where he sold them.

Shortly after his return from Cameron County, Coy was off to San Antonio with Ereneo Carrero, also accused of horse theft. Upon his return from the Alamo city, Coy again made treks for Cameron County to bring back another suspected criminal. Deputy Coy brought Mauricio Abrigo back to Nueces County. He was the brother of the gang leader killed in the shootout mentioned earlier. Mauricio Abrigo was a suspect in the robbery of the Noakes Store in 1874.

Nueces County Sheriff Whelan, meanwhile, brought in two suspected horse thieves that had been operating in the Pena area, in the southern part of the Duval County. The two suspects, Gumesindo G. Fuentes and Juan Salazar, were captured near Carrizo by none other than Deputy Coy.

In August, Coy brought in Porfirio Salazar, also suspected of horse theft. Deputy Coy reportedly caught Salazar on the road near Los Animas heading towards Rio Grande City. He had the horse, saddle and bridle belonging to John Kelly.

While Coy was gallivanting about the country, the usual crime spree in San Diego went unabated. A Brownsville gambler by the name of Manny Kepple went on a binge, entered a house in town and attacked a woman. A neighbor, Zenon Gonzales, heard the woman’s pleas for help and rushed to her aid. Kepple attacked Gonzales, stabbing him five times. Authorities arrested Kepple, but they did not expect that Gonzales would survive his wounds.

The year 1885 wound up with one of the most horrific killings seen in the frontier of Duval County. The victim was 14 year-old Casimira Diaz, daughter of Mateo Sendejo. The murder occurred at the Sendejo ranch six miles west of Mindieta.

Casimira apparently had married Eusebio Diaz, 28, with Sendejo’s blessing but not that of the local priest, who objected due to the disparity in their ages. The couple went to San Diego where the county judge married them. Casimira, however, who was in love with someone else, had second thoughts and reportedly gave her new spouse the cold treatment.

Diaz had suffered a head injury the year before and had become erratic in his behavior. On Sept 1, 1885, he went to the girl’s ranch and found her grinding corn in the kitchen. They soon got into an argument and Diaz reportedly directed gunfire at his reluctant bride. The first shot shattered Casimira’s jaw. She ran to her mother for help when Diaz fired again hitting her under the right arm. The dying girl fell into her mother’s arms.

Diaz, meanwhile, placed the gun to his head and unloaded three shots with no effect. He tossed the pistol aside, took a dagger from his boot and slit his throat. Incredibly, he survived. A doctor came from San Diego and sewed his throat and authorities took him to jail in San Diego.