A Valentines day photo shows the young couple happy, a little over a month later and the young man featured in the photo is now suspected of the murder of Nelly Casas.

Nelly was just 16 years old with her whole life in front of her, she wanted to be a teacher, she also wanted to break off relations with her boyfriend Jose Luis Cantu who was three years older. Their relationship was full of problems and Nelly kept a diary in which told of the abusive relationship that she had with Cantu. This diary was discovered by her mother shortly after Nelly went missing. Many parents find themselves in a tough position wanting to give their teens room to breath. Parents are not mind readers and if your teen does not open up then you have got to find better ways of communicating with your child.

Nelly had dreams of becoming a school teacher, these dreams were cut short, by what is becoming all to familiar, girls being killed by their boyfriends. Nelly’s parents now regret not reading their daughters diary as the warning signs were there.

I have said many times before that todays criminals are getting dumb and dumber. Jose Cantu had stopped by the family home just a few days beforehand and commented on the family shed. Do you always leave it unlocked?, asked the curious Cantu. Well someone could come by and steal what is inside. Lt. Guadalupe Salinas of the Pharr Police Department now theorizes that Cantu placed the body of Nelly Casas in the unlocked shed and most likely fled to Mexico because thats where they all go.

The shed is just ten yards from the back door to the home of the Casas. Nelly’s friends talk of the abusive relationship she had with Cantu, the relationship began when the two met at PSJA High School. Cantu was described as having an anger problem in which he would slam lockers while roaming the halls at PSJA high school. Now at first when writing this I was unfamiliar with what the PSJA stood for but it is for three neighboring towns that all use the same high school. Pharr, San Juan and Alamo. You can drive from Alamo to Pharr in a couple of minutes with San Juan being in the middle. San Juan has a beautiful church named Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle where people come from miles around to visit. Nelly was last seen with her boyfriend Cantu last Friday, her family was frantic over the weekend to find Nelly and opened their back door on Sunday only to find police looking in their backyard and they found her body inside the family shed. A call was made to crime stoppers and it was that tip that led police to search the shed.

Nelly was asked by her friends why she did not leave Cantu, she replied that she loved him.

Team 4 news has a video on this story, just last Thursday Team 4 news was at the office on the National Voice for Children and I had an interview that was syndicated across the country. What a difference a few days can make that will shatter not only the lives of the Casas family but the lives of future students as well.

UPDATE 3-23-06

Team 4 news has added video footage of family and friends and also speaks out on the warning signs of an abusive relationship.

UPDATE 4-06-06

Jose Luis Cantu was arrested in Reynosa Mexico on 04-5-06 when he was in a colonia and he went running, he thought the police were after him and he confessed to killing Nelly Casas, he said he was wanted in connection with a murder in the valley of Texas.

This opens up a can of worms because Cantu has dual citizenship and being extradicted may not come as easy as we may think. The US has the death penalty and Mexico does not. Reynosa is just across the border from Mc Allen and Cantu if really interested in fleeing I feel would have gone into Mexico not just stayed in la frontera. His easy confession may show plans to remain in Mexico but it is all too early to tell, he may just be that stupid.

Well I just heard the confession, he was interviewed in Jail last night via TV cameras rolling from channel 5 news, it does not sound like Cantu plans on fighting extradition. He stated he plans on returning and own up to what he did. He states that he used a wire to strangle her and the incident leading up to the murder all happened inside the shed. He stated that Nelly said she had been cheating on Cantu when he went crazy and killed her. No I do not expect an insanity defense but that was the word cantu used to describe the act.