New details released in 2020 Laredo quadruple murders

WARNING: The following article contains graphic descriptions
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 11:54 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - On Wednesday, April 19, the Children’s Advocacy Center held its annual conference where they discussed ways to prevent and raise awareness of child abuse.

One presentation spotlighted one of the most gruesome murders in our area. Three years to the date, the Webb County District Attorney, Isidro Alaniz, showed a room full of law enforcement, first responders, and advocates against crime, the crime scene of a quadruple murder.

In 2022, Samuel Enrique Lopez pleaded guilty to killing a family of four back in 2020. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

During Wednesday’s presentation, Alaniz revealed new details, never before seen images and video of the crime scene, and above all, he shared his thoughts on the mind of the killer.

For the first time, the audience heard the words of the killer, Samuel Enrique Lopez. “I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God. What did I do? I didn’t want to do anything like that,’” he was heard saying in a newly released video.

On April 16, 2020, police entered a home on the 4500 block of Vanessita Court and discovered a gruesome scene. The bodies of 33-year-old Zayra Martin-Fuentes, 18-year-old Lesly Hernandez, and 12-year-old Pedro Cruz were found. Alaniz remembers that day. “This is one of the most horrible crimes that we’ve seen, and we’ve seen a lot of capital murder cases in Laredo,” said Alaniz.

On Wednesday, Alaniz revealed the number of stab wounds found in the three victims. “There were 28 stab wounds on the mother. There were 12 stab wounds on Lesly and 56 stab wounds on her brother. A total of 96 stab wounds in that house,” said Alaniz.

The fourth victim, two-year-old Julian Saracho, was found dumped in an empty lot on the 47000 block of Arias Court. Saracho was taken by Lopez and was suffocated by duct tape.

Those details were shown in the confession tapes:

Investigator: So, [Julian] was alive all the way until you got to the ditch there? Right?

Samuel Enrique Lopez: That’s right. I tried taping him up.

Investigator: You tried to what?

Samuel Enrique Lopez: I tried to tape him up.

Alaniz told the audience: “[Julian] was put in a field in south Laredo, in three trash bags, and left in the grass. When we opened the bag, baby Julian was there with his head full of tape and his hands tied together.”

A simulation of the crime scene showed the inside and outside of the home, the blood found, the wounds on Lopez, and pictures of the bodies of the three victims wrapped in blankets or plastic in the backyard.

During the presentation, Alaniz stated Lopez had issues with his mental health which could have contributed to the crime. “Something was wrong with Samuel. He did not get the help that he needed in Laredo,” said Alaniz.

During the presentation, Alaniz raised awareness among the advocates on red flags to report in hopes to prevent a similar tragedy. “The most important lesson I learned, in this case, is the importance of reporting mental illness -- that when you see the signs of a young person or any person that is suffering from anxiety, or depression, to get them that help. Those are the signs we need to look for as I said in this presentation. If Samuel had been helped perhaps this crime could have been prevented,” said Alaniz.

Lopez who is now 23 years old will not be eligible for parole.

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