A San Antonio man suspected in his ex-girlfriend’s slaying had grown increasingly unstable and erratic in recent weeks, at one point allegedly abducting her at gunpoint and driving her to a remote ranch where he threatened to kill her, according to court records.
On Feb. 24, Andrew Munoz failed to appear in court for a hearing on a charge from two years ago when he is accused of punching Marisela Cadena, 43, in the face and scratching her chest, leaving four marks.
The next day, Cadena went to the Bexar County Family Justice Center and sought a protective order, a civil order granted by a judge that prohibits an alleged abuser from contacting the petitioner. Cadena also gave a statement to police and set up a safety plan in an effort to thwart any additional violence.
Cadena did everything she was supposed to. It still wasn’t enough to save her life.
On Friday, just two days after Cadena filed for the protective order, police say Munoz, 42, walked into Cadena’s workplace, a South Side Subway near Loop 410 and Roosevelt Avenue, and shot her multiple times.
Cadena, who family described as a beloved mother and grandmother, died later at a hospital. Munoz fled and is still at large.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, along with Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, appealed to the public Monday afternoon to provide police with information about Munoz’s whereabouts.
“Marisela was abused and she did everything she was supposed to do to try and get away from him,” McManus said. “The SAPD and the district attorney’s office did everything we could to prevent this senseless death.”
Police say Munoz is armed and dangerous. He reportedly told family members that he will not be taken alive, McManus said.
According to court records, Cadena and Munoz began dating about six years ago. In an affidavit signed after they broke up, Cadena said Munoz would become physically and emotionally abusive after drinking alcohol.
In June 2018, she said, the couple went to a strip mall and Munoz grew angry when she didn’t hand him his ID quickly enough, mistakenly giving him hers instead.
“He punched me a couple times on the left side of my face,” Cadena wrote. She said he also scratched her.
Cadena called police, who documented her injuries in an affidavit later that year. On Dec. 10, prosecutors filed charges against Munoz for assault bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor, and issued a warrant for his arrest.
The following year, on Sept. 14, the couple were arguing about money when Cadena says Munoz grabbed her and pushed her into a closet, where he punched her in the head and the stomach.
Again, Cadena reported the abuse to police. This time, police were able to find Munoz. They arrested him on the warrant that had been filed nine months prior and booked him into jail. A judge set his bond at $3,500 and prohibited him from contacting Cadena. He was released that day.
The pair broke up soon thereafter, Cadena wrote, but she continued to see him drive by her home.
On Feb. 16, Cadena wrote, Munoz began calling her repeatedly while she was at work. She blocked his number. When she returned home about 10 p.m., Cadena said, she saw Munoz appear from between cars, seemingly out of nowhere.
Munoz repeatedly asked Cadena to talk with him in his car, Cadena said. She told him she did not want to, but he insisted, at one point lifting his shirt and showing her a handgun tucked into his waistband.
He led her to the car, put the gun to her head, and forced her to drive to a ranch about an hour away, Cadena said.
“He kept yelling at me, saying I betrayed him,” Cadena wrote. “All the time we were in the car he was pointing the gun at me or putting it to my head.”
At one point, Cadena wrote, Munoz insisted she place her hand on the dashboard so he could shoot it.
“I begged him to stop,” Cadena wrote. “He said it was going to hurt like I had hurt him.”
Moments later, he fired the gun into the ceiling — making Cadena’s ears ring.
After several hours, Cadena wrote, she convinced Munoz to return home. He continued to call her all week, at one point begging her to sign paperwork denying the alleged attack in 2018. She said no.
On Feb. 24, when Munoz failed to appear in court, Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzales issued a warrant for his arrest.
The next day, Cadena reported the alleged kidnapping to police, who issued a warrant for Munoz’s arrest on an aggravated kidnapping charge. McManus said police continued to check up on her afterward, driving by the Subway where she worked several times, McManus said.
In a court document filed last week, Cadena wrote: “I am afraid of Andrew. I fear for my life.”
The protective order was filed Friday, hours after her death.
Anyone with information on Munoz’s whereabouts should call police at 911 or at 210-207-7273 and refer to case number SAPD20043121.
Emilie Eaton is a criminal justice reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | email@example.com | Twitter: @emilieeaton