The immigrant from Guatemala often brought her six-year-old son to work with her. Grief-stricken family members say it's only by the grace of God that she didn't bring the little boy to work with her on that fateful day.
German Castro struggled to hold the tears back as he told us how much he loved his wife Maria. For more than a year, 27-year-old Maria Pacheco worked as a cleaning lady at the Eclipse gentleman's club in southwest Houston. On March 22, when Castro couldn't get in touch with his wife on the phone, he drove to the club where he found her laying on the floor.
Since she was five months pregnant, I thought perhaps she had fainted, he says.
In reality, Houston police say the mother-to-be had been brutally beaten and strangled. Officials now believe a man in surveillance video was behind the murder. Osvaldo Fernandez Aguilar, 23, was at one time the club's security guard.
Ross Sakaki, one of the managers who runs the Eclipse gentleman's club, tells us the suspect did know the victim, but only as co-workers and did not socialize outside of work.
Sakaki told us he isn't surprised Fernandez Aguilar has been charged with Pacheco's death. He says the suspect, who he describes as an aggressive guy, had been working as a security guard at the club for about six weeks before he was fired.
"We had gotten too many complaints about him fighting with customers, arguing and everything," Sakaki explained. "That's why the management contacted the owner, and I told him we no longer needed him."
He went on to say the victim was a very kind woman who often showed up to work with her son. The manager also believes the fired security guard killed Pacheco because she could have identified him to police officers.
As the search for the suspect continues, the family is looking for justice and the right words to tell the victim's six-year-old son what happened to his mother.
"We don't say nothing to him because he's crying when we are talking about her, he's crying," a family member said.
He's also crying for the baby sister he was excited to meet later this year, the family says.
Fernandez-Aguilar is accused of taking $1,000 from the club's cash register. He's charged with capital murder and remains at large.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Osvaldo Fernandez-Aguilar is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
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