Three weeks ago, my fiancé’s brother texted me saying that my fiancé, “Eric”, was killed in El Salvador. I cannot express how stunned, sad, and angry I am about my Love’s needless death.
Eric grew up in America after his parents brought him, at age five, to the U.S.A. I was both his kindergarten and third grade teacher. Later, when he was a young man, to my regret and shame, Eric became the underaged so-called “victim” in my sex offense case. My psychologist reported us. I was given a one-year sentence, and I lost my teaching credential. When Eric became older, he couldn’t find work in the United States. He didn’t have a legal U.S. birth certificate, so he went back to his birth country, El Salvador, to get a job and attend college. He wanted to teach English. He also wanted to help youths resist getting into Salvadorian gangs.
I now admit that I thought about Eric obsessively everyday since my 1991 arrest. But I never got in touch with him or his family to find out how he was doing until nearly three decades later. In 2017, I reconnected with Eric through social media. He was happy to hear from me, saying he had also thought about me everyday since my arrest, and still loved me. Since we’d both been divorced more than two years, he asked me to marry him. I made plans to fly to El Salvador by way of Mexico in January 2018.
Even though my case was expunged in 2002, I was not free of nationwide sex offender registration, which is problematic for registrants when traveling, looking for a place to live, and finding work, especially since the advent of online googling. I’d been on the Registry for twenty-seven years, so before my flight, I notified my local police department of my travel plans. Angel Watch, a group intent on preventing registrants from traveling to other countries notified Mexico that I was coming there. So, when I arrived in Mexico City, I was put in a holding tank, and deported back to the United States the following day.
Still wanting to marry Eric, I flew to El Salvador non-stop in March 2018. I worried that I would again be deported, but to my relief and surprise, I was allowed to enter El Salvador and reunite with my long lost Love. Eric and I spent a week together, but in the process of trying to marry, I was told that the issue date on the latest copy of my birth certificate was void. Marriage to foreigners is strictly scrutinized in El Salvador. I also didn’t have current U.S. tax documents with me, so Eric and I couldn’t marry. I came back to to the United States promising I would bring all of those items up-to-date and return, but that never came about. Homeland Security and Angel Watch made sure that I would never be able to return to El Salvador again. My passport was revoked in April 2018. This was so devastating to me, that I seriously wanted to end my life.
During our time apart, Eric was having problems with extortionists, who wanted to control his small restaurant business. When the business was failing and Eric couldn’t pay the extortionists, they sent thugs to beat him up. He made efforts to come to the United States by abandoning his business, and joining the caravans heading towards the U.S. Border. I suggested that he instead go work in San Salvador, and apply for a passport or visa, so he could come to the United States legally. Wounds to his eyes and body from the beatings he took, caused him serious health problems. He found work, but soon he required surgery. We texted one another about his job, his health, about what was going on at the border, and about U.S. policies that were keeping us apart. I wanted to help him financially, but couldn’t because of my own financial problems.
In mid April 2019, I told Eric I’d given up. It was hopeless for us to ever be together again. I was on the Registry, and we would not be allowed to marry each other here in the United States. Even though he had studied 12 years in American schools, he would not be allowed to become a U.S. citizen. I myself had moved on. Eric and I stopped texting one another altogether.
Registration issues not only affected my being with Eric, but affected my being with anyone at all. I went into a very serious depression. I felt that as a Lifetime Registrant, I was never going to be allowed to have the freedom to be in a committed relationship. It was useless for me to even think that in the future I might ever have such happiness. I felt so powerless and sad, I couldn’t imagine I could feel any worse.
Hearing the news about Eric’s murder by a Salvadorian gang devastated me. I felt agonizing loss–loss for someone I deeply loved and loss for the faith I had in humanity and God. Thank goodness family, friends, and 12-Step groups are helping me through this crisis. Emotionally, I am grieving and I am angry.
I want the United States government to know that the Registry destroys lives and is unconstitutional according to the 14th Amendment. It also destroys any hope for decent, law abiding registrants to find jobs, a place to live, to be able to travel, and to reciprocally love whomever they wish to love.
Note: To date, LY has been on the Registry for 28 years. In 2021 when CA Tiered Registration Laws go into effect, she will be able to apply for removal. She has wanted to end her life several times, but stays alive for her family–a 96 year-old mother, her grown children, and her grandchildren–relatives, and friends. She also lives for the day she might be free again to travel, and she wants to continue writing and painting her life’s stories.
Photos: Eric’s brother sent LY four photographs: one of the beautiful blue shrine Eric’s mother and brothers erected to Eric, a second photo shows a deceased Eric peacefully laying inside his satin-lined coffin, and the third and fourth are crime photos showing a close-up of Eric’s body stained with his blood from 14 bullet-hole wounds, and one of him laying face down dead by the side of a country road.