Laredo, Texas — Pictures can help tell many stories, but there’s one story the family of the late Claudine Luera would like the world to know. They say there’s more to the woman referenced in the headlines.
Luera was gunned down along with three other people in a series of murders in Laredo that authorities are pinning to an off-duty Border Patrol agent.
“She never let whatever was going on in her life keep her from smiling,” said Luera’s sister Colette Mireles. “I want to remember my sister for the beauty that she possessed.”
Mireles holds on to the memories behind every smile in her sister’s photographs and wants to share those memories with the world, a world that Mireles said has Luera painted in a different picture.
“She had a hard life these past five years. They weren’t pretty… addiction is a monster. It’s a disease. And sadly, it did get the best of her,” said Mireles.
After a series of missteps, Luera, a mother of five including a pair of autistic twins, lost custody of her children as she fought to get back on her feet. Her family remained hopeful.
But that chance never came, as Luera’s name suddenly became part of a horror story in their city of Laredo.
Early Saturday, police arrested 35-year-old Juan David Ortiz, who they deemed a serial killer. For two weeks he targeted a certain segment of the community by picking up women in his truck and taking them to remote areas before shooting them point blank.
On September 13 – the night of her death – Luera reportedly confronted Ortiz about the first victim, Melissa Ramirez, who was killed ten days earlier.
“Knowing that she died bravely standing up to this man… it hurts. It really hurts,” admitted Mireles. “She didn’t deserve to die like this. She never harmed anybody. She loved her children, regardless… she loved her children and we loved her.”
“It hit close to home because it was very close to my residence,” said Laredo resident Priscila Trevino.
Trevino, known in Laredo by her street reporter name ‘La Gordiloca’, recorded cellphone video of the arrest. She said she knew Luera, Ramirez, and a third victim identified as Humerto ‘Janelle’ Ortiz.
“They were very outgoing, high spirited… they had a lot of problems, but they had families who loved them,” said Trevino.
Luera is remembered by those who knew her as a woman of love who fought for what was right. Now they are fighting for her legacy and using her story to help others turn their lives around before it’s too late.
“She was beautiful regardless of what life threw her way,” noted Mireles.
Luera’s family said they hold no animosity against the Border Patrol and pray for the suspect’s family.
They have set up a GoFundMe page in her honor to help with funeral expenses.