Woman arrested for setting fire to monument for human trafficking victims on Quintana Road

SAN ANTONIO – A 44-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday for setting fire to a monument that was erected in honor of the 53 victims who died in a human smuggling incident over the summer, San Antonio Fire Department Arson Bureau Lt. Noe Saldana said.

Firefighters were called out around 6 a.m. Tuesday to the 9500 block of Quintana Road for an unauthorized burn.

When firefighters arrived, they found a monument burned and damaged, Saldana said.

During the course of the investigation, Estela Banda, 44, was identified as a suspect and an arrest warrant was issued for her.

While she was questioned, Banda admitted to the fire and damaging part of the monument.

“She said she was compelled by the Holy Spirit and doing God’s work,” Saldana said when Banda was asked why she committed the crime.

Banda was charged with arson.


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