Fact Check

Did a Group of Migrant Men With a Kidnapped Mexican Girl Hold a Texas Rancher in El Indio at Gunpoint?

We sought to corroborate an incident described in a social media post that went viral in early 2019.

Published Jan. 21, 2019

 (Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com)
Image courtesy of Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com
A group of migrant men who had kidnapped and raped a Mexican girl held a Texas rancher in El Indio at gunpoint.

On 9 January 2019, a Reddit user with the handle "leblancelle76" took to that platform to report she had witnessed a serious crime. She alleged  that a group of migrant men had kidnapped and gang raped a 13-year-old girl from Mexico and had taken her across the border into Texas, where they held the Reddit user's husband at gunpoint until Border Patrol intervened in a helicopter.

We were unable to independently verify the user's story. But the post has since gone viral, with many erroneously attributing it to a Facebook user named Lin Myers Ellis. The circulating message from "leblancelle76" reads:

I live 1/2 mile from the border in El Indio Texas. Last week we had over 40 people pass through our ranch. One group of about 15men pulled a gun on my husband and had a 13yr old mexican girl that they kidnapped from Guerrerro, MX...she has blood all over her and had urinated on herself. My husband was able to, with the help of Border Patrol agents in a hellicopter who passed over, get the gun from the illegal man (he was Honduran) and they rushed the poor girl to the emergency room for help because she had in fact been kidnapped and gang raped by these men. This is just one of many stories we have. 2 nights ago 3 men came up to our house. One of then was an elderly man who was almost dead...we gave them water and protein bars...called BP and 911 for the man to go to the emegency room. We are kind people and believe in helping people in need BUT there has been 3 attacks on my husband on our ranch, 2 of which were directly at my home, in the last 3 months....and that really means something Because we are considered an area that does not NEED alot of help!!! I got so MAD when I watched and heard what Pelosi and Schumer (sp?) said concerning Trumps "manufactured" drama with the border....that is such garbage!!!! They are ignorant liars!!! How many people have to be hurt or attacked? There has to be someone in our government who stands up and helps our Border Patrol .....from Eagle Pass to Laredo, there are only 3-5 guys on call....and it could be 2 guys against a group of 50+....its horrible!! We need help!! The wall needs to be built not at the port of entries but between them.....Pelosi is a moron if she thinks that added more security at the borders will help Because, Hello Nancy, they are NOT COMING THROUGH THE BORDERS....THEY ARE COMING THROUGH MESQUITE AND BRUSH....

El Indio is a tiny, unincorporated community in Maverick County, southwest of San Antonio. It has a population of less than 200. As it falls within the jurisdiction of the Maverick County Sheriff's Department, we reached out Sheriff Tom Schmerder to ask about the most serious and most specific claim in this post — that a Mexican child had been gang raped, kidnapped and forced into Texas by a group of armed migrant men. Schmerber told us that if such a serious crime occurred, his deputies would have been notified. But he had no knowledge of the incident as reported.

We reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Special Operations Supervisor David Vera, who also told us he has no knowledge of the incident.

We checked with the law enforcement agency for the nearest city, Eagle Pass. Humberto Garza, spokesman for the Eagle Pass Police Department, told us that the department was not notified of any such incident. There are no local news reports about it, and Mike Ramos, a reporter for the local Eagle Pass News, told us he has not heard about it, either.

The post circulated amidst the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history. The shutdown was spurred by an impasse between Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump over Trump's demand that Congress appropriate $5.7 billion in funding for border wall construction.

Although the post has been widely attributed to Ellis, Ellis took to her Facebook account on 12 January 2019 to state that she was simply reposting.


MacCormack, John. "Five Charged in Immigrant Smuggling Wreck."   Houston Chrnonicle. 19 June 2018.

Buch, Jason, and Nelsen, Aaron. "Where Rhetoric Meets Reality: Texans Have Lived With a Border Wall for Years."   San Antonio Express-News. 14 October 2016.

Dhue, Stephanie. "Trump Claims Mexico Will Pay for His Border Wall Because of the New North American Trade Deal, but the White House Struggles to Explain How."   CNBC. 19 December 2018.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.