When a husband reports an ongoing domestic assault, authorities quickly respond to the call. Upon arrival, there is no sign of the alleged female perpetrator, Cecilia Huerta Gallegos Cecilia never left the home after entering her master bedroom. Where are you, Cecilia? This is your story.
I have the honor of speaking with Maria Lopez, Cecilia's sister. We discuss her story for she is still a missing person, and Maria's goal is to raise awareness about her disappearance. Cecilia Urena Huerta Gallegos, born November 17th, 1988, was the fifth of seven children. Her parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic to Houston, Texas where she and her siblings were born and raised. Cecilia's siblings recall that as a child, Cecilia often nursed injured animals back to health. She cared for every animal, even if it was a rat. Margie Lopez recalled she wanted to save every animal. This compassion followed into her adulthood. Cecilia was known as a dotting mother and a compassionate nursing assistant who cared greatly for the elderly residents in her care. Her sisters described her as a great human being with a beautiful personality.
Well, she was a great person. She would always be happy. She was, I think the, the fun one. I think that even though we had a bad day, she would make you laugh. She would call you and tell you, you know, jokes and all of that. She was the, from all of us, she was the funniest one. I think you would never see her mad, to be honest. She would love helping each other. I mean, people that she didn't even know either, but she was the happiest person on earth. You won't literally see her mad at all. Yes, even in my worst moments, I think she will be the only one that will, you know, change my mood and everything. She would like tell me everything will be okay. Like I mentioned before, she will come up with some things that that literally will make you forget the, your bad day. You know what I mean? Like, she was awesome.
I think the funniest story I've ever had of her is, you know, when we were baptized, I think when we, we had a big party at a salon, and she was literally, literally like in the front talking to everybody, like with the grownups and like I mentioned before, saying jokes and all of that. You know, she would literally make everybody laugh. And I think that's the best moments of my life when we were baptized, because I think that's the only time where we literally spent time together as brothers and sisters. Cause we did have a, a tough childhood, even though not a lot of people know, but our childhood was real tough. I think we went through a lot of personal, personal things. I think that's why I literally understand you, you know, why you made this podcast, because a lot of it, it represents me and my old, my two sisters. You know, we went through domestic violence also. We went through, you know, personal stuff where, you know, we were abuse. You know what I mean? It's something that I, we don't really mention to everybody, you know, it's something personal, but we, we did go through abuse when we were younger, so it's hard.
Cecilia was considered an exemplary worker by her colleagues, supervisor, and patients alike, and she inspired those around her. She always went above and beyond what was required of her, and she is deeply missed by all. Cecilia resided with her family in Houston, Texas until 2012. She began her journey as a mother at a young age by giving birth to two children with George Spezzia, who was younger than her. By three years, Cecilia and the children lived in her grandmother's house until she moved to San Antonio, Texas. Her ex-partner, George Spia, received a seven year jail term for the crime of burglary of habitation. Around the same time, according to Maria Lopez, Cecilia decided to start fresh and forge ahead with her life. Now, burglary of habitation is a specific type of burglary that occurs when someone enters a home or other building with the intent to commit a felony theft or an insult.
Now, in Texas, burglary of habitation is a second degree felony, which means that it is punishable by a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000. Cecilia moved to San Antonio with her two children, where she worked as a cashier at a local gas station. It was here that she met the man who would later be charged with her murder re Huerta Gallegos. They were legally married on February 26th, 2013. The couple purchased their new home located on 5 6 22 Southwick Street in San Antonio, just a year after they weed citing a deed on March 6th, 2014. Sadly, this is also the last place anyone saw Cecilia. The couple welcomed two more children into the family, and Cecilia stopped working at the gas station to stay home with the four children. Shortly after they were married, Celia began studying for a professional certification in the healthcare field during this time, and she became a certified nursing assistant in December of 2016. She then started working at St. Francis Nursing Home on July of 2017 as a full-time aide.
That was her whole life, like helping out people, you know, older than her. And I think that's something that she experienced not for long, but that's something that we, we seen that she loved it. I think she was on the first level, if I'm not mistaken, she had just passed her medicine test. Oh, wow. Cause she wanted to do medicine also.
She was a cherish employee who was described as a very reliable, and her patients loved her. She worked her full 40 hours on weekends, staying home during the week. Unfortunately, while Cecilia's occupational dreams were coming true, her husband's behavior began increasing. More possessive friends said that Cecilia had a curfew, and that her husband checked on her regularly at work and at school when she was taking classes. According to police, in Bearer County court records, Reyes assaulted one of Cecilia's coworkers at the nursing home on June 22nd, 2019. He punched the male coworker in the face after showing up at the facility during Cecilia's shift. How, however, the trial was waived on January 13th, 2020, when witnesses failed to appear in court. The victim's name was Jeffrey Bardo. Investigator says, Cecilia tried to end the relationship with her husband that day, to which she responded by pulling a gun. According to an affidavit, Cecilia was worried for her safety. Reyes didn't allow anyone to visit the home, even putting a lock on the gate to keep people out according to neighbors.
She did tell my older sister, Margie, she told her that her plans, she did have a big plan before she, you know, disappeared. She did tell her kids, she spoke with them. She said all of them down in the sofa, and she spoke with them and told them that, you know, she was planning to get a house, you know, she was already searching for a home. Those were her plans. Get a home and put Lin's camera everywhere, you know, to get away from, from her husband. That's something big that she had literally coming up. She even saved money to do it, you know, that's something that she was even happy about. She, she would speak to my older sister and she would tell her, you know what? I'm, you know, it's coming. I'm, I'm, I'm leave. You know, I'm gonna leave and I'm gonna take my kids with me. We're gonna start new life.
Sadly, Cecilia would disappear before this plan could be carried out. Cecilia was seen the last time on July 7th, 2019. Her long shift at the nursing home was scheduled to end at 11:00 PM However, she would end up leaving around 7:20 PM after an unexpected visit from Reyes. During her shift, Reyes approached Cecilia around six 40, and she appeared to be very uncomfortable during the encounter captured on the facility, security camera Reyes came very close to Cecilia, causing her to back up into the wall. After Reyes left the facility, Cecilia approached the head nurse asking to leave early, and she explained that she needed to go home to check on her children. According to her sister, Maria Cecilia's also called her younger brother, Justin Dela. She told him that she feared something was going to happen, that she needed to go home and watch her kids.
Cecilia arrived home from work at 7:39 PM according to records entering the master bedroom that she shared with Reyes. Less than 15 minutes later, at 7:53 PM this is the last time Cecilia was ever seen. According to police, Reyes can be seen in surveillance footage, keeping his two biological children and two stepchildren who were 6, 7, 12, and 14 away from the master bedroom. The children forced to go into their bedrooms, heard an argument take place. One of the children told Maria Lopez that after being forced into her bedroom, she, the child heard screaming and that she covered her ears up to block out the noise. The children remained in their rooms for the rest of the night, and Cecilia was never seen again.
It's been hard. It's been, to be honest, it's been hard for all of us. Imagine if it's hard for us that we're, you know, old, older than the kids. The kids. It's been hard for them, even though we, we take 'em to, you know, therapy and everything with the psychologist, they still haven't got through losing their mom at, I think at some point, my youngest, the, my niece, she's the one that I guess she still holds hopes that she's coming back. You know, she don't know a hundred percent that my sister's gone. She thinks she's coming back. And it's something that, it's really hard because it's hard to explain to her, especially when you're going through depression, because you don't even have your mom. She was real attached to Ceci. You know, Cecilia will literally take her everywhere. Like she was, it was her only little girl. The rest of 'em are boys, but it's been hard for all of them. The two oldest ones, they're with their father. So, you know, it's been tough on them too, you know, but they have, you know, over overcome a bunch, a lot of stuff, you know, after she, she was gone. So, but like I said, at this point, it's even, even myself, I still see a psychologist. It's something that you can heal. You can't, you know, as time goes by, you still don't have closure to, you know, to Will, will find her
At 2:08 AM the next morning. The home surveillance cameras experienced a period of blackout that lasted until 3:44 AM. During this time, Reyes was observed moving around the house and going in and outta the master bedroom. He made multiple trips to and from his bedroom to the family's white Chevy Tahoe, leaving the residence on four separate occasions. While three of these trips were relatively short lasting between two to 11 minutes, his fourth trip spanned over two hours. At precisely 6:27 AM Reyes was seen driving away from the residence in the white Tahoe. Upon returning at 8:48 AM he began unloading equipment, including a chainsaw, two shovels, contractor duty, trash bags, and cleaning supplies with his shirt soaked in sweat, after which he proceeded to take a shower before contacting local police to report an incident. Upon arriving at the residence, San Antonio police found that Cecilia was not present.
However, they did observe visible injuries to Reye's face, a scratch mark on his chest, and a superficial cut on his index finger, which was consistent with fingernail marks. According to Reyes, he had been involved in an argument with Cecilia 30 minutes prior, during which she had allegedly cut him with a knife. The couple had been arguing about possible infidelity and a situation escalated into physical violence. Following the alleged assault, Cecilia reportedly left the home stating that she intended to leave their family and disappeared in a car, driven by an unknown man who had been waiting outside. Despite her sudden disappearance. Reyes did not report her missing, and claimed that he had no knowledge of her whereabouts. Cecilia's siblings, all of whom live in Houston, became very concerned when they had not heard from Cecilia for several days after that last ominous phone call with her brother Justin.
It was very unlike Cecilia to cease communication with her family, especially her children. Decisively, after three days of eerie silence from Cecilia, Justin called the San Antonio Police Department asking them to complete a welfare check on Cecilia. When the officers informed Justin that Cecilia couldn't be found to complete the welfare check, he filed a missing person's report. Upon filing this report, San Antonio police informed Cecilia's siblings of the nine one one call made by Reyes on July 8th, her siblings became even more concerned and suspicious after hearing the content of the report. They knew Cecilia would never voluntarily leave her children. She didn't take a vehicle close or money, and there has been no activity on her cell phone or credit cards. Police would soon find that Cecilia could not have fulfilled the actions described by Reyes in his initial report. As per Greg Ross mre, a representative of St. Francis Cecilia's absence on July 14th was highly unusual and concerning since she had never missed a shift before. Later that day, Cecilia's siblings Maria and Margie Lopez contacted Search and support San Antonio via Facebook after learning about their efforts in the search for Andre McDonald, another local mother whose remains were discovered. On July 11th, 2019, Andre's spouse was found guilty of manslaughter, and just recently, Andre's spouse was found guilty of manslaughter in February of 2023. With respect of her demise,
Nina Brooks, the founder of Search and Support San Antonio, wasted no time in alerting and coordinating with volunteers on Cecilia's case. One such volunteer was Robert Green from Chain Breakers, who offered invaluable expertise in a search for missing persons. The next day, July 15th, at 2:22 PM Brooks and Green worked with another volunteer from Chain Breakers to check on Cecilia at her family home. When there was no answer at the door, they contacted S A P D to perform a wellness, wellness check on Cecilia. Upon arriving at the Gallegos home and sharing what they knew about the case with law enforcement officials, Reyes Gallegos arrived back at the home. He allowed the two deputies into the house, while neighbors also spoke with volunteers outside about their observation, but had not seen Cecilia themselves. Although unsettling circumstances surround Cecilia's disappearance, including an unusual visit from Reyes to Cecilia's workplace, dedicated professionals such as Brooks and Green, who continue working tirelessly until she is found.
On July 15th, 2019, the San Antonio Police Department obtained a search warrant for the Gallegos residence. After visiting and interviewing witnesses, the warrant granted them access to properties video surveillance system, which had both interior and exterior views of the house. The footage was unsettling as it contradicted Reyes's account from July 8th. It showed that Cecilia was not visible during the alleged assault, and she was never seen leaving the house or the master bedroom. After entering at 7:53 PM on July 7th, detective Alicia O'Brien stated in an affidavit that the suspect's statement did not match what they saw on the video. There was no evidence of a struggle, and Cecilia did not leave the house before her disappearance. Cecilia had expressed concerns about her safety and instructed her friend and sister to contact the police if anything happened
At the ever since. She, she started, you know, dating Ray, everything changed. You know, I think we would not see her often, so I didn't even, we couldn't even plan a date with her. You know, to be honest, the last trip she made to Disney before she was murdered, I think, I think that, you know, that's something that I have regrets not going with her. You know, I received a last hug from her and I think that, you know, she was not okay at that point, no more. So, if I could go back in time, you know, I could, I wish I would've gone to that trip. I think she was so happy. It was like a getaway from her, like getaway from her home. That Disney trip was, you know, I think something that she, she didn't do for years, like that trip, I guess, made her feel the way she was really, that she was back then, a happy person, you know, but we never knew that, you know, that would all change.
Child Protective Services removed the children from Reyes custody and placed them with Margie Lopez. Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding Cecilia's disappearance, search and support, San Antonio has organized countless searches for Cecilia. Family, friends and volunteers have searched overgrown culverts, ditches, fields, and parks near her home. But Cecilia's body has never been found because the video surveillance obtained from Gallegos residence contradicts the story Reyes gave to police. On July 8th, Reyes was arrested and charged with making a false report to a peace officer on August 13th, 2019, and was released on a $3,500 bond the next day, however, a judge increased the amount from 3,500 to 75,000 on September 4th, 2019, and Reyes was taken back into custody the following day. Court records indicate that this case was closed on March 12th, 2020. On August 24th, 2021, Reyes was arrested without incident during a traffic stop on the city's west side. He repeatedly told reporters that he was innocent, and he was transported from public Safety headquarters to the magistrate's office, where he was formally charged with Cecilia's murder.
Reyes was indicted by a Bexar County grand jury on November 16th, 2021. The indictment alleged that on July 7th, 2019, Reyes intentionally and Knownly caused a death of Cecilia Juarta Gallegos by manner and means unknown to the grand jury. Records indicate that this case is being prosecuted by the Family Violence Division in the one 44th District Court on January 12th, 2023, a judge reduced Reyes's bond from $250,000 to $150,000. 14 days later on January 26th, 2023, Reyes was released on house arrest with G P S monitoring. While his current residence is unknown for, he does not appear to be living in the house on the Southwick Street. The trial date previously set for March 30th of this year is now set for July 10th, 2023. A search for Cecilia Juarta Gallegos remains were conducted in preparation for the upcoming murder trial of her husband, Reyes. Jean Robinson Consulting in Juan Cantu provided invaluable assistance with their drones, despite temperatures reaching 107 degrees. San Antonio Demolition Company also contributed their time heavy equipment and expertise to the effort.
All I wanna do is, you know, get the word out there. That's the main thing. I think, like at this point, you mentioned before, her name hasn't gone viral. You know, I, I, a lot of people don't even know about her. It's like, you know, like, like she don't exist to me because, you know, it's, it's just a couple of people that know what happened to her. So that's my main goal. I just want to get word out there. We want justice, you know, and we just, I think if we could be able to reach, you know, the reward to go up, you know, I'll be more than happy, you know, probably that could move a lot. You know, if the reward goes up, someone could step forward. But all I want at this point is just to get her name out there. That's the main, the the main thing I want.
Thank you for, you know, for reaching out to me and Nina, that means well to me. You know, I've tried to reach out to a couple of podcasts, but like I mentioned before, it's, it's hard. It's hard when, you know, they don't reach back to us and, you know, they say they are, they don't, you know, it's hard sometimes. I think that depends where you're at. San Antonio, I think they're real slow with, you know, with cases and I've never seen them, you know, they don't even contact us as they're supposed to, so that's something that really bothers me, mainly cuz that I wanna get her name out there so they could know that, you know, we have a lot of people supporting us and trying to find her.
Currently there is a reward of $1,160 donations accepted to increase the reward and I will provide the GoFundMe. The San Antonio Police Department is currently seeking any helpful information regarding the homicide of Cecilia Huerta Gallegos. If you have any information or knowledge about this case, no matter how small or simulate insignificant it may be, you can also call S A P D with any information. Tipsters may remain anonymous at 2 1 0 2 0 7 7 6 6 0. Your assistance could greatly aid in bringing justice to Cecilia Gallegos and her loved ones. Remember, your voice and information can make all the difference. As a community, it is imperative that we come together and work with law enforcements to combat these filing crimes and bring peace and bring Cecilia home. Since the initial days of Cecilia's disappearance, search and support, San Antonio has been tirelessly advocating for her. Their efforts included conducting searches and distributing flyers to raise awareness about her case. We wanna thank Search and support San Antonio for their unwavering dedication to finding Cecilia and bringing her home. Their professionalism and thoroughness in handling. This case has been truly remarkable. Despite past setbacks, the family remains committed to fighting Cecilia's remains. If you want to aid in the search for Cecilia JTA Gallegos contact search and support San Antonio at 2 1 0 3 7 2 7 1 4 3 or email sa ssa.tx.org gmail.com. I will place all this information in the show notes.
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