SAN ANTONIO — A capital murder suspect is behind bars after spending eight years on the run.
On Saturday, U.S. Marshals took the 26-year-old fugitive into custody in Eagle Pass. Isaac Estrada was wanted for the 2015 death of 22-year-old Courtney Phillips.
Monday night, KENS 5 broke the news to Phillips’ family on what would have been her 31st birthday.
“With today being her birthday and us getting the news, it’s just answered prayers,” said Rachel Baird.
Baird is a family friend who has been raising Phillips’ son. Jace was only 5 years old when his mother was murdered.
“It was Easter Sunday when we got the phone call that she had traveled to San Antonio with a friend and this had happened,” said Baird. “It devastated us. Jace was destroyed by it; knowing he wasn’t going to be reunited with his mom.”
Baird says Phillips was on her way to meet Estrada at a house on the southeast side. That’s where San Antonio police found her body. Authorities say she was stabbed to death.
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Jace is not only grieving, he has been living in fear with his mother’s killer on the loose.
“When he was younger, he didn’t know if someone was going to hurt him,” said Baird. “Now that he is older, he’s just been worrying about other people. [Estrada] was so young when he did that. As time went on, we were just so afraid [authorities] weren’t going to have the information they needed to find [Estrada]. People change their appearance over time. You change a lot from 19 to 26 years old, so we wondered if he would be found.”
When Jace learned of Estrada’s arrest, it was a bittersweet moment.
“[I feel] good,” he told KENS 5. “Emotional.”
Baird remembers Phillips as a beautiful, energetic person who was working towards a better life. She says her family will sleep better knowing Phillips' suspected killer is in prison.
“We are just ready to see him be held accountable for his actions,” Baird said.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, many tips were generated over the years and rewards were offered. It’s unclear how Estrada was able to evade law enforcement for so long.