Mark Reagan

Mark Reagan is a reporter for The Monitor. He can be reached at or at (956) 683-4437.

Hidalgo Co. response rate to Census lagging amid pandemic

For three years, a large coalition in Hidalgo County planned to get out in the community for the 2020 Census. There were events planned across the community. Plans were made to get out into the community in person to make sure people got counted. The U.S. Census Bureau even opened its first office in Hidalgo County, rather than rely on the San Antonio Regional Office. Then the unexpected happened: a pandemic. Read the full story at

Sentencing pushed back for man who shot pregnant common-law wife

A 27-year-old Edinburg man will have to wait to learn what his sentence will be for shooting a pregnant, off-duty McAllen police officer in her stomach in 2018, killing her unborn baby. Jesus Abides Campos was scheduled for sentencing on charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault against a family member with a weapon causing serious bodily injury. But with the Hidalgo County Courthouse all but shutdown because of COVID-19, he's joined many other defendants in having their hearings rescheduled. Read the full story at

Hidalgo Co. eyes stricter emergency orders

As health officials on Monday reported the second death from COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley, confirmed positive cases in Hidalgo County climbed above the triple-digit mark. In a Monday night release, officials reported 14 new cases here bringing Hidalgo County's total to 113, including 14 who are hospitalized. Of those 14, four are in intensive care units. "We are seeing the number of cases double every four days or so," County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release. "This is in line with what we have expected and I can't emphasize enough that the safest place for everyone is in their homes." Read the full story at

Federal judge dismisses most of McAllen police shooting lawsuit

A father's search for answers about a shooting between McAllen police and his daughters' stepfather that left one of the girls dead and one seriously injured will continue. But claims of civil rights violations, including excessive force and a violation of due process claims levied in a federal lawsuit against the city of McAllen have been dismissed. Hector Garcia sued the city and three police officers on Feb. 27, 2019, more than two years after the girls' stepfather, Cruz Pinion, shot his daughters, L.L.G., a minor who survived, and 16-year-old Ashley Garcia, who died. Pinon also shot and killed his wife, 42-year-old Santos Verenice Garcia, before he shot and killed himself. Read the full story at

Hidalgo County sees 7 more cases, officials look at amending emergency order

As COVID-19 cases in Hidalgo County and the Rio Grande Valley continue to climb on a daily basis, officials here are looking at extending — and beefing up — the emergency order that's shuttered businesses and required residents to stay at home in an effort to stop the virus' spread in the community. And Friday was no different as officials here reported seven new cases, bringing the total tally to 86. Cameron County reported seven news cases Friday as well, bringing its total to 62, while on Friday both Starr and Willacy counties each had five cases apiece, bringing the total number of positive cases in the Rio Grande Valley to 158. Read the full story at

Man convicted in ‘road rage’ murder seeks new trial

A motion for a new trial filed by a man serving a 20-year sentence for a “sudden passion” murder sheds light into why the jury believed it was not a case of self defense. A little more than a month ago, state District Judge Fernando Mancias ruled that 33-year-old Fabian Paredes’ daylight shooting of 27-year-old Joshua David Sanchez at a traffic light at the intersection of 10th Avenue and West McIntyre Street, just outside the Hidalgo County Courthouse, was a crime of “sudden passion” and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Mancias’ ruling dropped the charge against Paredes down to a second-degree murder from a first-degree murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The punishment range for second-degree murder is two to 20 years. Read the full story at

Man indicted on murder charge for brother’s death

He didn't fire the shot that killed his brother, but he's been indicted on a charge of murder and two counts of aggravated robbery for his sibling's death. A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Noel Alvarado on the charges on March 19, stemming from a deadly Dec. 3 home invasion that left his brother, Emanuel, dead. The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office arrested the man after he brought his brother who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to Knapp Medical Center at around 12:45 a.m. on Dec. 3. Read the full story at

COVID-19 delays death penalty decision for man accused of killing DPS trooper

The deadline for the Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office to announce whether it will seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing a state trooper came and went Monday without a decision. This is because the March 30 deadline set by state District Judge Letty Lopez on Feb. 26 occurring before COVID-19 was first confirmed in the United States and after the March 16 meeting of the Hidalgo County Board of Judges, which set in place numerous restrictions on court activity meant to mitigate the large crowds of people that gather at the courthouse. Those precautions have resulted in limited opportunities for Victor Godinez’s defense attorneys to meet with the 24-year-old man for safety reasons, according to an unopposed motion for continuance his counsel filed last Friday. Read the full story at

DA’s office taking protective order applications by phone

The shelter-in-place order implemented to mitigate the spread of  COVID-19 is intended to protect the community, but there's one vulnerable segment of the population that could face greater danger by staying at home for a prolonged period of time: domestic violence victims. Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, however, wants people who may be in this vulnerable position to know that law enforcement is working and will respond to calls for service. "We want them to know that if there's any kind of false information out there, that either we're shut down and you can't seek help anywhere, that's totally false," Rodriguez said. "We're going to keep pushing and tell possible victims of domestic violence to please find a way to contact us. Please find a way to contact law enforcement." Read the full story at

Friday morning update on Hidalgo County COVID-19 testing

The latest Hidalgo Couny COVID-19 testing numbers from Friday morning indicate 230 have been tested here with 148 testing negative. Late Thursday night, officials announced two more positive cases —a 61-year-old San Juan woman and a 48-year-old Pharr woman — bringing the total number of positive cases to 11. That number could change by the end of the day. Read the full story at