Nine years ago: youth minister kills unborn child and teen he impregnated

Adrien Estrada

On December 12, 2005, San Antonio police arrested a 22-year-old youth pastor whose former pregnant girlfriend, a 17-year-old member of his youth group, was found stabbed to dead in her San Antonio home.

Adrian Estrada had been a youth pastor at a local church when he impregnated the teen, Stephanie Sanchez several times, even driving her for an abortion, according to testimony from his trial.

Estrada and Sanchez began having sex when Sanchez was sixteen years old and Estrada was twenty years old. Sanchez lived at home with her mother and siblings who approved of their relationship. Court documents report that Estrada impregnated Sanchez three times. According to court testimony, the teen first became pregnant by Estrada in 2004, but he drove her to the clinic to have the abortion procedure. In July of 2005, the teen found herself pregnant again by Estrada, but suffered a miscarriage.  

The third time, Sanchez decided to have the baby, according to witnesses. At the time of the pregnancy, Estrada had already begun a sexual relationship with another underage girl in his youth group, who later testified that Estrada told her that he wished that he could kill Sanchez.

On the day of her murder, prosecutors say that Estrada went to Sanchez’s home at a time when he knew that she would be alone. Sanchez was thirteen weeks pregnant. Court records indicate that Estrada choked Sanchez and stabbed her eight times in the back and five times in the back of the head and neck before leaving the teen’s body on the kitchen floor knowing that her father and siblings would be home soon and find her.  

The medical examiner testified that Sanchez’s cause of death was “multiple stab wounds and manual strangulation.”   Several of the stab wounds in Sanchez’s back fractured some ribs and penetrated a lung. The unborn child received no stab wounds during the attack. The medical examiner testified that a separate autopsy was performed on the unborn child and that there was nothing “wrong with that child that would cause death except the fact that the mother had—was dead.”

During its summation of the murder case, the State speculated that the killing was spurred by a disagreement over whether Sanchez would get an abortion for her third pregnancy. Prosecutors argued that Estrada “knowingly killed the baby” because “he already got rid of one baby” when he “took her down there for the abortion.” They speculated that the stab wounds that the victim suffered to her neck were “for mom,” and the second set were for “baby.”

Estrada was convicted of Capitol murder and was sentenced to death in 2007, because the murders included the teen and her unborn child. However, in 2010, The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the death sentence but upheld his conviction and in 2011, Estrada was given life in prison without parole.

This case is one of tragedy that sadly gets repeated all to often in the country. An adult man pursuers an underage teen, impregnates her, takes for an abortion to cover the sexual relationship or kills her when she refuses to submit to his demand to have an abortion.

Even more tragic is the fact that this took place by a man who is supposed to represent Christ to the teens he influences at his church. Sadly, when people disregard the warnings of scripture to engage in premarital sex they will go to great lengths to cover their “sin” when it is about to be discovered. In this case, two unborn children and Stephanie Sanchez paid the price for a man who should have known better, who coveted his position in his church more valuable than how God would see him when he took matters into his own hands to snuff out their lives.

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