Escape From Hell: How a Texas Woman Survived 17 Years of Horrific Abuse at the Hands of Her Aunt and Uncle
Abby Alvarado was a scared 8-year-old in 1996 when she, along with her brother and sister, were taken from their mother’s home by Child Protective Services in San Antonio, Texas. The three siblings were sent to live in Hawaii with their uncle, Eusebio Castillo, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and his wife, Laura, a childcare worker.
Although she was sad to leave her mom, she thought living in Hawaii would be an adventure.
Instead, it turned out to be her worst nightmare.
Over a 17-year period, until she turned 25, Abby says she was physically and sexually abused by both her uncle and aunt while the family lived in Hawaii and then Texas. Even more shocking, when she turned 15, she says the Castillos, who had adopted her and her siblings, forced her to bear three children with Eusebio, which they claimed as their own.
“They were in bed, and they told me to sit down on the bed with them,” Abby, now 30, tells PEOPLE. “We’re gonna have a talk. This is what you’re gonna do, and that’s it. End of story.”
In 2005, as a 17-year-old high school student, she gave birth to her first daughter. Three years later, she gave birth to her second daughter, followed by a son in 2011.
Abby says she finally found the courage to leave around 2013 when she met her future husband Rudy at the Castillos’ San Antonio home where they were making claims that Abby’s oldest daughter had the power to heal diseases.
“He came to the church one day, and something told me that he’s going to be the one helping me,” she says.
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With the help of Rudy, she fled the Castillos’ house with her three children and went to the police on July 20, 2014.
“I knew in life I was going to grow up and get older and he was going to want something young,” she says about Eusebio. “‘I was like, ‘I have two girls. They’re next. They’re next in line. There’s nobody else here.’ I did it for my girls and my son because they’re my world.”
After Abby escaped, the Castillos fled San Antonio and were finally taken into custody in 2017.
In June of 2018, Laura Castillo,46, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 33 years in prison. Eusebio Castillo, 48, pleaded guilty in October and received 5 life sentences.
“These people are just evil, period, end of story,” Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nicholas LaHood tells PEOPLE. “There’s not a lot of things that shock us, unfortunately, but this is definitely up there of the level of depravity that you hope that nobody else is ever exposed to.”
Today, Abby says she is finally putting the pieces of her life back together.
“I’m able to sleep, now without having to wake up to Rudy trying to hold me and getting scared,” she says. “I don’t do that anymore, so it feels really great knowing that I don’t have to be scared anymore, knowing that he’s never gonna get out.”
And she hopes by sharing her story, it will help others.
“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me,” she says. “I’m opening up for women and people to hear my story and learn from it.”
For more from the exclusive interview with Abby, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.