2020: Year in Review


2020 has been a year full of strife from the COVID-19 pandemic to civil unrest on a national level. With 2021 on the horizon, here is a lookback at some of the area’s top reported stories of 2020.
5. Pride of the Town: Elida Villarreal passes
Elida Salinas Villarreal died this year on Aug. 18 at 99-years old. She was easy to find at Greyhound football games or at the Lady ’Hounds softball games. In 2013, Villarreal was voted the number one Greyhound fan in the San Benito News ‘Hooked on ’Hounds’ contest. During the 1930s, Villarreal played in a women’s softball team, where the team traveled across South Texas to compete. Villarreal held many leadership positions in her lifetime; she was the President of the Band Booster Club and the Fred Booth Parent-Teacher Association. She also an Ambassador for the San Benito Chamber of Commerce and was Precinct 40 Chairwoman.

Crime scene
Seen is the Villarreal home in La Paloma where the alleged murders and suicide took place.
(Photo by Jonathan Leija)

4. Double Murder Suicide
Authorities confirmed a double murder and suicide that occurred on Nov. 24, 2020. According to Capt. Javier Reyna of the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department, the suspect 83-year-old Jesus Villarreal shot and killed his wife, 74-year-old Maria Alaniz Villareal, and their daughter, 41-year-old Crystal Villareal, then proceeded to shoot himself. Jesus Villarreal and his wife were the caregivers of their daughter who had a disability. According to Reyna

, the sheriff’s department responded to neighbor’s call at around 7:50 a.m. in regards to a body lying motionless in Villarreal’s driveway. No motive for the murder and suicide has been found.

3. Bobby Morrow Dies

Bobby Morrow gives a speech during the debut of Bobby Morrow Stadium in 2006. (SBN File Photo)

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Bobby Joe Morrow died on May 30 at the age of 84. Morrow, a San Benito native, competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia and won gold in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 4×100-meter relay. In 1956, Morrow won Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year,” after being the first person since Jesse Owens to win three gold medals in a single Olympics for track and field. The debut of San Benito High School’s Bobby Morrow Stadium happened in 2006 in which former Mayor Joe Hernandez honored him with a proclamation during halftime. Morrow died in his home in Harlingen and is remembered fondly by his family.

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