Family fights for baby whose mom was allegedly killed at domestic violence survivor community

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, June 2, 2023
Man allegedly kills girlfriend at domestic violence survivor community
Yaima Verjes' family is fighting for the custody of her baby after she was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, Abel Sosa, who's charged with murder.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A family is fighting for custody of their 6-month-old granddaughter after their daughter was shot and killed inside a home in a Fort Bend residential community for domestic violence survivors.

Abel Sosa, 20, is charged with murdering Yaima Verjes, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, on May 10, according to records.

At the time, she and Sosa were living with their infant, Emma, and Sosa's mother at a home in a community run by the Fort Bend Women's Center. It was his mother's home, according to her family, who said they had been there since January.

Despite living in the community, Verjes was not there to escape an abusive relationship.

The Fort Bend Women's Center told ABC13 that Verjes was not living there and was merely a guest.

Verjes' sister, Veronica, said her family knew there was trouble in the couple's relationship and tried to intervene to no avail.

"She struggled a lot over there. I can tell you that. But she was so in love with this guy she didn't see any of that," Veronica said.

Originally, Veronica said the family was told by a Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office detective that she died while playing with a gun.

Immediately, they knew that was not true, according to the family.

Nine days after the shooting, Sosa was arrested.

"It was one of those moments where you have relief because you know she didn't do it to herself, but he did it to her," Veronica explained. "He still took my sister's life away."

Veronica said both she and her parents raised concerns to the staff running the women's community center about guns and drugs in the home where Verjes was living.

The day before their daughter's murder, Veronica said her parents went to the facility to drop off supplies for her and planned to voice concerns again but were told to leave.

"We have such a hard time with that because this is a place that was supposed to be safe," Veronica said. "How is it y'all failed to see these things happening there? There were times when I called to give them a tip about the home. How is it they missed this?"

The CEO of FBWC, Vita Goodell, told ABC13 on Thursday that they were not aware of concerns raised by her family about her living in the community. They went on to say that they have strict rules that prohibit residents from having overnight guests without prior permission and that residents have been evicted for violating the policy.

She said she could not comment on concerns about guns and drugs in the residence, citing the ongoing investigation.

When asked if Sosa was on the lease for the home, Goodell said she could not comment.

Court records show that during the time Verjes' family said the couple was living in the FBWC residential community, he was on probation after pleading guilty to burglary of a habitation in 2021. Records show a motion filed by the district attorney's office in March of 2023 asking to revoke his probation after numerous violations.

It is unclear if Sosa's family is being evicted from their home in the community. FBWC said their lease specifically states that no illegal activity is allowed, and it is grounds for eviction.

In the aftermath of the homicide, Goodell said they have been working with FBCSO to keep their property safe.

"We are committed to the safety of all our clients, staff, and volunteers," Goodell said.

Since Verjes' death, Veronica said baby Emma has been living with Sosa's mother in the home where she was killed.

The victim's parents are adamant that the child needs to be with them.

"The only thing we will ever have is her, Emma," Veronica said. "She's going to look like her mom. She has big eyes like her mom."

CPS has been involved in the case, according to the family, and has conducted interviews with Veronica and her parents. A caseworker also did a home visit.

"My mom's a stay-at-home mom," Veronica said. "I'm a stay-at-home mom. She has all the support she can have over here too."

Originally, Veronica said they maintained a civil relationship with Sosa's mother and were able to keep the baby several days a week. Since the caseworker's involvement, she said there has been a wedge between the families.

"We all tried so hard to save my sister, to make her realize she was in a bad place," Veronica said. "We couldn't save her. All I can do now is try to save my niece. I have been trying. I have been trying to show CPS proof, and they don't care."

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said they are not able to comment on the case because the child is not in DFPS care and because of state laws on confidentiality.

ABC13 asked a spokesperson what the protocol is following domestic situations where one parent is killed, and the other is incarcerated. DFPS issued the following statement in response:

"Only a parent or the court can decide who has physical custody of a child. If we feel the child is not safe with the parent, we would ask them who they would want the child with. We run background checks and check out the person's home. We also look into whether that person already has a healthy and safe relationship established with the child. We try to keep the child in an environment that's as close to what they're used to and is also safe."

Verjes' family is considering hiring an attorney to fight for custody. They set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs associated with the loss.

Sosa remains in the Fort Bend County jail on a $500,000 bond.

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