Picture having to live with the memory of loved ones – sons, fathers and husbands shot to death, in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason. Widows, mothers and wives of the Porvenir Massacre murder victims did not grieve or go through the currently popular notion of “closure”. They went on to relive the horror daily.
Images of the bullet-riddled bodies of sons, husbands and fathers haunted them to the end of their days. The mother of Juan Flores, whose husband Longino was killed, is a prime example. She had to be watched night and day because she would sometimes take off running and knocking on doors, screaming “They’re coming. They’re coming”. As her condition worsened, the family was very careful to keep arms from her. Sadly she did find a rifle under the house one day, and she shot herself through the heart!
Juan Flores was ten years old on that fateful night. He recalled everything that happened clearly. It was a bitterly cold night with a moon that lit the area like daytime. He did not see a single Texas Ranger. What he did see were about ten “ARMY SOLDIERS” who went into the jacales, dragging boys and men out. Two men who Juan clearly could identify, despite kerchiefs that hid their faces, were part of the group. One of them entered the Flores Jacal and took a rifle from the wall. It was a rifle that Texas Ranger River Guard Joe Sitter had given his father, and one that the “taker” had always wanted. When Juan asked why he was taking the rifle, the individual (who spoke Spanish) said: “Tu callate”, you shut up!
These men had visited the Flores home often. They, along with Ranger Joe Sitter, often camped there and were fed beans and tortillas by Juan’s mother. Juan Flores: The child and man suffered horrible nightmares that left his children doubtful of his sanity. Never having told them about the massacre, it was impossible for them to make sense of the raving screams that went on nightly. Eventually Juan was taken to a State Hospital where electric shock was performed. He was to remain silent for years until I came along.
The above facts are part of hours of recorded conversations with Juan Flores and his daughter Benita and her husband Buddy. It is the family’s hope that this article and subsequent publicity will spur action in regard to establishing a Memorial for the victims of El Porvenir. Not so much as a condemnation of those responsible, but rather, that they, the victims, NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.