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Landowner lawsuit centers on memorial to Esequiel Hernandez Jr., teen shot and killed by a U.S. Marine in the 1990s

The memorial site at the center of the lawsuit, pictured in 2018.
Carlos Morales
/
Marfa Public Radio
The memorial site at the center of the lawsuit, pictured in 2018.

In Far West Texas, a memorial to Esequiel Hernandez Jr., a teenager who was infamously shot and killed by a U.S. Marine in the late 1990s during a border security crackdown, has become entangled in a lawsuit between landowners that could impact the memorial site’s future.

The tragic killing happened on May 20, 1997, when a Marine on a covert anti-drug operation shot and killed Hernandez, an 18-year-old Presidio High School student, who was herding his goats near his family home in the small border community of Redford.

The memorial site itself is unassuming: a small plot of desert land with a white cross emerging from the ruins of a crumbled building.

But as the Big Bend Sentinel reports, that small parcel of land has become wrapped up in a lawsuit brought by a Dallas company called the Local Chapter, which operates a luxury campground in Terlingua. The company is seeking to obtain the land after purchasing hundreds of acres surrounding the memorial site.

Big Bend Sentinel Reporter Sam Karas covered the story and spoke to Marfa Public Radio for more about the legal battle.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.