Oldest of 3 sisters became their legal guardian after dad allegedly killed mom and disappeared

Eyewitness News spoke with Jackie Martinez in 2019 when she was 19. She's 23 now but still living in fear of her father.

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Thursday, November 24, 2022 4:20AM
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Ninfa Griselda Mancillas' murder, allegedly by her husband Jose Martinez-Espinosa, approaches the four-year anniversary. Their daughters live in fear.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In a small apartment in southeast Houston, there is a united front of three sisters who are getting closer to the hardest day of the year.

"It's four years, but it feels like yesterday, to this day," Jackie Martinez said.

Saturday will mark four years since their mother was murdered and their father, who is charged, went on the run.

ABC13 first met Jackie, Daniela, and Miranda Martinez in 2019, as Jackie, the oldest, was trying to get legal custody of her younger sisters, who have autism. They were also learning to live on their own.

"We didn't have a bed. We didn't have food. We were all alone in the apartment," Jackie said.

PREVIOUS STORY: 19-year-old girl forced to mother 2 younger sisters after father murders mother and flees

Years later, while there is more stability, there is also fear they can't shake.

"I don't want to get killed by him," 15-year-old Miranda said.

When we asked, "Are you worried about that?" she replied, "Yes, I am worried so much."

Miranda was the one who found their mother, Ninfa Griselda Mancillas, in their southeast Houston home on Nov. 26, 2018. That terrible memory often overshadows the good ones.

"I liked to stare at her when she's putting on makeup and when she brushed my hair and hugged me and kissed me," Miranda recalled.

So this November, the sisters want to speak up and turn the attention toward their father once again.

"I want him to be in jail for good," Miranda said.

Jose Martinez-Espinosa has been on the run since November 2018. Jackie believes his family is helping him. Houston police said he may be in Mexico.

Jackie is now 23 and fighting for justice as a domestic violence survivor, she says.

"Don't forget about this. Don't forget about what happened to her. Don't let that happen to other kids," she said.

She encourages victims to get help so that other brothers and sisters are not left all alone.

"I wish I could see her one more time. Hug her face just once," Miranda lamented.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Martinez-Espinosa is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

The Harris County District Attorney's office has a list of resources for victims of domestic violence seeking help. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

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