House of Shame Pt 2. – The Fate of the Rubio Murder House

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 “I know that it was a heinous act. A lot of people were very upset about it, understandably. Because you know that, anything of that order to occur is going to upset a lot of people,” says Eugene Fernandez from the Brownsville Historical Association.

Some say violent acts can cause a building to be forever marked as an unholy site.

Such is the case in this building where three children were beheaded by their own parents. Today both John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho are in prison for the murders.

That is why many want to take this building down.

An early controversy surrounding the building suggested there was a misunderstanding between the city and historical committees.

We spoke to a prominent historian to share his input on the value of the property.

Fernandez says, “Looking at the building straight off… It’s a very common building again it’s in an area that is not connected with other historical structures… nothing throughout the past of that building really has given it any basis for historical recognition.”

By the past, he refers to the time frame from its construction in the early twenties until today.  There is a list of criteria this building must adhere to qualify… but we wonder what if it does get demolished? We spoke Tammy Bailey, an asbestos and demolition with over 35 years of experience.

 “Most of our contractors that have been doing demolitions for years in this valley they use good work ethics. They keep the material wet, they load out, they usually don’t demolish more than they can get out that day,” says Bailey.

From what I was able to research, this particular building qualifies for the strictest of regulations.  During the production of this report we met with the asbestos removal expert, Juan Sepulveda, who was assigned to this project.

Sepulveda says, “Every worker needs a license, every supervisor, insurance and everything. Everything should be healthy.”

Because this site has the strictest of state regulations, no one is allowed within immediate proximity without the right protection and licensing, so how long would something like this take?

 “When I finish to remove the asbestos, that’s time to bid for the demolition guys, I think that next month they start it, but I don’t know by when,” says Sepulveda.

This process does not guarantee demolition, it does however; mean that a bid for demolition can be placed as early as the next month.. One of the most likely to benefit is said to be the Brownsville wellness coalition, they have started a garden in the back… what would it mean if they got approval to expand the garden?

Melissa Delgado from the Brownsville Wellness Coalition comments, “More of the community would be able to get involved. We could expand more garden beds. We could add more fruit trees. Make a small little food forest. And also like I said, a memoriam to the children.”

But since there is a garden here today, demolition could disrupt the garden, how worried is the coalition about a potential demolition?

 “Not at all because all of those beds are raised beds, and so we would just need to replace the soil that is in there. So they can start from fresh once the entire building is demolished,” says Delgado

For the first time in thirteen years we are seeing evidence that could lead to a demolition. We asked what the fate of the building should be.

 “There was such a horrific crime that happened here, that the sooner the building gets out, the sooner the community will heal around it,” says Bailey.

Veteran Journalists says, “They need to build a garden there or something. I truly hope that no one’s office should be above that unholy ground.”

 “For all I know it is a fire hazard, it may well be an entrapment for children looking for something to do. So I think the concerns the neighbors have will be addressed by the house being demolished as a matter of fact,” remarks Cameron County District Attorney, Luis V. Saenz.

Local resident Marcos Castro says, “I’m Ok with taking the building down because It’s already been here for a while… it feels too long and you never know, maybe an auntie or an uncle, a grandma, or somebody that passes by here… They just take it as a constant hurtful reminder.”

“I’m a historian… I will state for the record that there is no historic value in that building. So whatever happens to the building there is a lot of conflict… a lot of varying opinions on it, I’m not going to weigh in on that… I want to remain in the heritage aspect,” says Fernandez.

For the most part, local residents in the surrounding areas say they are not bothered by the demolition of the building.  Only time will tell what will be the outcome will be. By the looks of it, we may not have to wait much longer to see something done at this site.

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