Man charged with murder after livestreaming confession

EDINBURG — A man who authorities said livestreamed a confession to Facebook was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and mother-in-law.

Flanked by sheriff’s deputies, Alvaro Medrano, 47, stood in an empty courtroom in the Hidalgo County Detention Center to hear the charges he’s facing after a domestic dispute Tuesday evening turned fatal. Bond for the Edinburg man was set at $2 million.

Investigators said Medrano called 9-1-1 at about 6:48 p.m. Tuesday evening to report that he had shot his wife, Olga Espinosa, 30.

Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said Medrano allegedly also shot her mother, Irene Espinosa, 52, in the head while the women were in a parked car outside Medrano’s rural Edinburg home, located in the vicinity of Sunflower Road and Farm-to-Market Road 2812.

Medrano then fled on foot before being apprehended by deputies near FM 493 and FM 2812, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators later learned Medrano had livestreamed his confession on Facebook as he walked away from the scene.

Guerra said they are working with Facebook’s law enforcement compliance department “to recover and preserve his account and data to collect for evidence.” They currently have a recording of the video taken from a phone.

This is believed to be the first incident in Hidalgo County in which someone has used the social media platform to record a live video confession.

“It’s just evidence that we can use against him,” Guerra said about the department’s handling of the video.

While the sheriff hadn’t seen the confession at the time of Wednesday’s arraignment, he said an investigator had.

Facebook said the video has been removed.

“(The video) violates our Community Standards — we do not allow the celebration of crime on the platform,” Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja said in an email.

Medrano also told investigators the dispute arose over his wife’s alleged infidelity and the two had been separated for about two weeks, Guerra said.

It was during Wednesday’s arraignment that Medrano learned his children had been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

At the press conference following the arraignment, Guerra said the children, who range in age from 4 to 14, were staying with the wife’s family. Referring to the case as “yet another tragic incident of domestic violence,” the sheriff confirmed that some of the children witnessed the shooting.