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Freeing the San Antonio Four

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Anna Vasquez planned on attending nursing school when she was arrested at age 19; Cassandra "Cassie" Rivera was raising two young children when arrested at age 19; Elizabeth Ramirez was 20 years old and pregnant when arrested; Kristie Mayhuh, arrested at age 21, was studying to become a veterinarian.


Kellogg's findings appear to evolve throughout the case, contends Sonja Eddleman, clinical coordinator of a child-abuse evaluation team who directs the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program at Corpus Christi's Driscoll Children's Hospital. Kellogg writes in her report she "briefly told the mother I had strong concerns and that her exam was not normal," before writing her findings are "highly consistent with abuse." By trial, Kellogg calls the girl's exam evidence of "a form of a scar," something Eddleman says is completely unsupported by the medical literature.

"My concern here is that it seems from the examination and then the trial, there was an evolution or a dramatic change in what her findings were and how concerning they were for abuse," Eddleman said. Upon evaluating Kellogg's exam report and trial testimony, Eddleman also questioned why Kellogg never took a medical history of the child.

The science, both then and now, "does not support the statements that were made under oath," Eddleman insisted.

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Navarijo's daughter is now a 20-year-old college student who lives on her own. In a court hearing this month in which Navarijo's attorneys asked state District Judge Maria Theresa Herr to recommend that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturn Navarijo's conviction, the daughter recalled, "My grandmother, as early as I can remember did not like my dad, for whatever reason. … She hated my father."

In August 2011, Navarijo's daughter signed a sworn affidavit saying her grandmother, Garza, "made me make these false allegations against my dad," who by that time had served 12 of the 20 years he'd been sentenced. "She would call my dad a 'pig' and other derogatory names," the affidavit states. The girl says she was too afraid to disobey her grandmother, who would often beat her with a belt for punishment.

Attorneys say Garza is still alive, though attempts to reach her for contact were unsuccessful. Navarijo's daughter and other family members declined to comment outside the courtroom this month.

Garza fought for custody of the child during Navarijo's trial, court records show. After he was convicted, the girl lived with Garza for much of her childhood, seeing her mother only during supervised visits. When she was around 11, the daughter says she recanted to a counselor, who's since moved out of state. If the counselor had any record of the visit, it was lost in a flood some years ago, according to court records.

At this month's court hearing, Navarijo's attorney, Michael Gross, called forensic psychologist Joann Murphey, who conducted two lengthy interviews with the daughter last year, to testify.

Murphey reviewed both videotaped interviews the daughter gave to CPS in 1998. Noting differences between the two videos, in which the girl recants and then confirms the abuse, Murphey remarked, "This does not look like the same child."

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