FOX44 has been airing stories all year about the fight to free Estela Fajardo from Waco’s Jack Harwell Detention Center.
Estela is awaiting criminal and immigration charges. Supports claim she was sexually assaulted by a guard and has been subjected to harassment ever since the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office claims there has been no wrong doing after, what they say, was a thorough investigation into the matter.
Now we are finally hearing what Estela has to say about it all.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara says there are no cameras allowed in the Jack Harwell Detention Center. So with the help of Estela’s closest friends and supporters, FOX44 got her side of the story through a series of recordings.
The fight to free Estela Fajardo has been one of the biggest stories in 2018. FOX44 has heard from her supporters, those who oppose her release and from different sides of the law. But we haven’t heard from Estela herself, until now.
“It’s hard to describe it. It’s just very painful,” Estela says.
It’s been almost three years since authorities arrested and jailed Estela. She has been separated from her four children, who range in age from three to 21 years old.
“I miss so much my kids. When I get out of here, I don’t even know what to do. I don’t even have the desire to even believe in,” Estela says.
Her charges include organized crime and her illegal status in the United States. Estela is expected to have her first court date next month, when her trial starts. If she is found not guilty, she will then try to go through the process to remain in the U.S.
This whole ordeal, according to Estela, has been draining.
“To trust the system anymore, was one of my biggest fears. You try to do the best and you feel like you get punished for doing the good things, you know,” Estela says.
She’s also puzzled by the lack of action from McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara, who
she says she befriended and campaigned for to get him elected seven years ago.
“I always thought that he was a man who was, you know, he would enforce the law and that’s why always supported him. I’ve been in a situation where nothing gets done, so I’ve seen it with my own eyes. That he doesn’t get anything done,” Estela says.
McNamara says there is nothing else he can do, saying:
“The media continues to believe there is something I can do for her. At this point, I can’t. It’s in the judge’s hands.”
FOX44 also asked about the lawsuit filed against the privately-owned jail La Salle Corrections after Estela raised allegations of physical and emotional abuse.
“We’ve investigated previous abuse allegations raised by Fajardo and found no evidence of wrong doing.”
La Salle Corrections has not responded.
Estela’s attorneys say since the investigation started, she has been moved to the McLennan County Jail until further notice. This is where will she continue to wait for the day she gets to see her family
and is thankful for those who continue to fight for her freedom.
“I can never express myself, what y’all have done for me. It’s amazing,” Estela says. “Whenever I walk through the hallway, they lift up their arms through the bars and they say, ‘Hey, go ahead. You’re doing good.’ And as a matter fact they say, ‘Free Estela! Free Estela!'”
Estela is scheduled to appear in court regarding her criminal charges on December 11. From there, her immigration attorney will take over.
Although she seems to be getting a lot of support, many still believe her illegal status should get her deported – regardless of the verdict.