DA’s office seeks to shield info on Mercedes murder case from public

Juan Jose Cosme and Fidencio Castillo Cosme

Two men arrested by the Mercedes Police Department at the end of September are accused of murdering a minor.

Police there arrested 34-year-old Fidencio Castillo Cosme and 37-year-old Juan Jose Cosme, both of Mercedes, on Sept. 29 and charged the men with murder.

Details of the allegations against the men, however, are unclear.

Mercedes police Chief Dagoberto “Dago” Chavez has not responded to repeated requests from The Monitor regarding the arrests on Sept. 29 and 30.

Chavez, however, did comment to multiple television stations on the case, telling those outlets his department was investigating a stabbing.

He later told The Monitor that he doesn’t comment on inquiries and that open records requests must be filed with the city for basic information. The Monitor instead filed a Texas Public Information Act request with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office seeking the release of probable cause affidavits in the case.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jacqueline Villarreal, an attorney with the civil division of the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, provided a copy of a request for the Texas Attorney General’s Office opinion asking whether the information can be withheld from public disclosure.

Villarreal argues the information is not subject to public disclosure because it involves the investigation into the murder of a minor.

The attorney maintains the probable cause affidavits are protected from release under Texas Family Code.

As for Fidencio and Juan Cosme, they remain jailed on a $1 million bond apiece on a charge of murder.

mreagan@themonitor.com