CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Officers with the Crockett Police Department arrested a 26-year-old man in connection to allegations that he kidnapped his 30-year-old sister and brutally beat her before leaving her bloodied and bruised at a residence on South Fifth Street on May 1.
Jose Gutierrez Cortes, of Grapeland, is still being held in the Houston County Jail on two first first-degree felony charges - aggravated kidnapping and burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit assault. Collectively, Cortes' bail amount was set at $90,000, according to a press release from the Crockett Police Department.
Because Cortes is an illegal immigrant, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials were contacted to place a hold on him, the press release stated. Both charges carry a punishment range of 5 to 99 years or life in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison.
“This is one of those crimes that you see that affects you emotionally, not only as a law enforcement officer but as a human being,” Crockett Police Chief David Cross said in a press release. “Every member of my department was called in to get this one solved. Several detectives and officers worked almost 24 hours straight on this one. I am proud of each and every one of them.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Crockett PD officers were dispatched out to a house in the 100 block of South Fifth in reference to a 911 call from a woman asking for help. The affidavit stated that one of the woman's relatives had called to check on her and the victim said to call 911 because she needed help.
The first officer to arrive on the scene found the victim lying on the porch next to a pool of blood, the affidavit stated. The affidavit also stated that both of the woman's hands were tied up in front of her with duct tape, and there was tape on her left leg.
In addition, the woman was dressed on in her underwear, and there were some torn clothes next to her, the affidavit stated.
The victim, who was bleeding badly from the back of the head, could barely talk and appeared to be very weak, the affidavit stated. When the Crockett PD officer asked who had done this to her, she replied that she didn't know because she had been blindfolded and tied up.
Several other Crockett PD officers arrived on the scene a short time later, and after they cleared the house to make sure there were no more victims inside, they found a large amount of blood in the living room, along with two blood-covered cell phones, the affidavit stated.
While the officers were clearing the house, Houston County EMS paramedics and Crockett firefighters started life saving measures on the woman. After the victim was transported to the Crockett hospital, she was immediately airlifted to a Tyler hospital for emergency treatment.
Because of the nature of the crime, Cross sought and got assistance from the Texas Rangers in the investigation of the crime, the press release stated.
When one of the Crockett Police officers spoke to the woman's landlords, they said that they had seen her in the backyard of the home on South Fifth Street an hour earlier, and she had seemed OK.
Later, the Crockett PD officer spoke to one of the victim's brothers, who said that his family had been having trouble with Juan Gutierrez Cortes, his younger brother, because the man had been dating a married woman.
“Earlier in the week Juan informed [his brother] that he was going to assault or maybe even kill him if they did not stop getting into his personal business in regards to him dating a married woman,” the affidavit stated.
During their investigation, Crockett PD officers located Cortes' pickup at the Melon Shed in Grapeland. They found Cortes at the business, and after he agreed to come to Crockett to speak to an investigator and a Texas Ranger about the case, he admitted to breaking into his sister's house, tying her up, and assaulting her repeatedly, the affidavit stated.
“Cortes explained he was mad and upset at her,” the affidavit stated.
The affidavit stated that Cortes was wearing a glove on one hand during the interview and was reluctant to take it off, but he eventually did.
“Cortes' hand was extremely swollen, which is consistent with the extreme injuries to [the victim's] facial and head area.”
Investigators got permission to search the property where Cortes parks his trailer. After they found a trail leading away from the trailer, the investigators found freshly disturbed dirt about 189 yards from Cortes' trailer, the affidavit stated. Just under the top layer of dirt, they found gray duct tape that matched the tape used to tie up the victim, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, the victim had severe injuries to her face and head. Both of her eyes were swollen shut, and were black, blue, and red. The affidavit also stated that her face was swollen and covered with blood. In addition, the back of the woman's head had been beaten severely and had soft spots.
The press release stated that the victim was in stable condition.