Best Salsa Club

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

Arts & Culture: San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and its history stretches long before the people behind the American or Texas Revolutions... By Mark Reagan 10/15/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Walking Wounded: The VA missed serious warning signs that presaged local vet’s violent breakdown

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Adan Castaneda in 2005 after joining the Marine Corps.

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Adan Castaneda after his 2011 arrest.

Photo: Micahel Barajas, License: N/A

Micahel Barajas

Maria Anna Esparza, still waiting for her son to "come home."

When he returned he was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon and Certificate of Commendation for his service. Back at Camp Pendleton, he started to drink heavily, claiming he couldn’t fall asleep otherwise. Superiors complained that he’d report in the morning with the smell of alcohol on his breath. They threatened to reprimand him, but there’s no record they ever did.

One morning in February 2008, after a night of heavy drinking, Castaneda slit his wrists. “I felt that I could have been killed any day while in Iraq. I realized that I was going to die anyway and that all of my friends were going to die eventually,” he later wrote. “I was tired of feeling that at any moment I could die. I decided to end it.”

Yet he changed his mind before he bled out, crudely patching his wrists with T-shirt fabric and duct tape before driving himself to the emergency room. He called his mother asking for the family’s insurance information. He refused to go to on-base doctors, Esparza says, because he was embarrassed, paranoid, and didn’t trust base officials. Doctors at a San Clemente emergency room quickly admitted Castaneda to the hospital’s psych ward. “He of course denied [that it was suicide] at the time, said it was some kind of training accident,” she said.

Doctors at the off-base hospital noted Castaneda showed signs of acute psychosis and suicidal ideation, and hospital records show he was discharged the following day into Marine Corps custody.

Still, according to Castaneda and his mother, base officials never confronted his growing mental health and substance abuse problems, even after the suicide attempt. “Nobody ever talked to me about my ever having been in the psych ward,” Castaneda wrote. The only action his staff sergeant and base officials took was to clear his room of sharp objects and remove his pet bluebird. “My staff sergeant and a lot of people knew that I had been in a psych ward. … The whole thing was just swept under the rug and ignored,” he wrote.

Esparza still recalls the military’s handling of the incident in disbelief. “That was the time they should have caught him. That’s when he should have been put into counseling, should have been treated. Instead he’s been ignored. They’ve continued to ignore him,” she said with a sigh. And to Esparza, her son’s problems are partly to blame on a lack of adequate help early on.

Castaneda’s paranoia grew more intense, and he started filing repeat grievances against his commanding officers for various alleged offenses. Soon after he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December 2008, he packed up all his belongings and made the long drive back to San Antonio. A military medical exam conducted a month before his discharge, less than a year after his suicide attempt, says Castaneda showed no signs of mental illness.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus