Murder suspect who ‘fell through the cracks’ sent to state mental hospital


A 66-year-old murder suspect who was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered to be sent to a maximum security state mental hospital more than a year ago has finally been picked up and taken there to see if his competency can be restored.

Court records reflect that the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office notified state District Judge Noe Gonzalez on Monday that U.S. Marshals had picked up Angel Bolanos Vasquez and taken him to the North Texas State Hospital, which has a maximum security unit managed by the Texas Department of Health & Human Services.

Bolanos is accused of stabbing his 55-year-old girlfriend of five months, Rita Velasquez, 14 times on Jan. 15, 2017, killing the woman.

On Oct. 7, 2019, he was declared incompetent and ordered to go to the state hospital to restore his competency.

But on Oct. 14, 2020, to the surprise of the judge, his attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, and the prosecutor, Mauricio Martinez, Bolanos appeared via videoconferencing from the county jail for his first scheduled hearing since being declared mentally incompetent.

The case had been continually reset as the parties waited on word from an HHS doctor on his status, which never arrived.

It turned out that Bolanos had never been taken to the state hospital and instead had been sitting in the county jail the whole time.

“This one fell through the cracks,” Gonzalez said at the time, adding that Bolanos still appeared to have trouble understanding the proceedings.

That Oct. 14, 2020, hearing also revealed that Bolanos’ health is failing. The man’s strength and vision are weakening, a deputy told the judge during the hearing.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Bolanos at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2017, in the 3900 block of North Alamo Road in the La Mansion apartment complex in rural Edinburg.

Authorities believe he stabbed Velasquez because he believed she was sleeping with another man inside the apartment they shared, but investigators determined there was no evidence of anyone else being in the residence.