September 1, 2008

Illegal immigrant kills one at state Rep. Flores' ranch, police say

September 1, 2008 - 4:25PM
Sean Gaffney

NEAR MISSION - Police say a suspected illegal immigrant working for a Democratic state representative brutally beat another man to death with a bat Monday morning.

Froylen Casares, 24, was working at a ranch owned by state Rep. Kino Flores near the intersection of North Tropser and Yukon Roads when he killed a young Hispanic male whose name authorities have not released, said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño.

"It was a very bloody, very bloody, very gruesome crime scene," Treviño said.

Authorities continue to search for Casares, of Honduras, who fled the scene before they arrived at about 5:30 a.m. Flores, who has owned the ranch for eight years and uses it to ride his horses, said he hired the man without checking his background because he didn't appear to be an illegal immigrant.

"He was preppy. He looked the part. No indication. He fit in extremely well, he had family members here," the Democrat from Palmview said. "It just looks bad in general ... of course it's going to grab more traction. I certainly don't want to go around challeng-ing people's status."

Flores, a six-term representative who is running unopposed for reelection this fall, was out of town for the holiday and was reached by phone Monday afternoon. He said he did not know the victim.

Treviño said the suspect's immigration status and whether Flores broke the law was a federal issue that would have to be investi-gated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Flores purchased the five-acre tract in 1986, expanding it in April this year with an additional six acres. The property was appraised at $143,648, according to county records.

Sean Gaffney covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4434.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?