History

Love and Murder Haunt the Banks of the Frio River

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The Frio River is the Southern Hill Country’s ultimate vacation destination. Tourists and travelers may head to Garner State Park to camp and relax at a Frio River waterhole, or they may stay in Concan to enjoy a world-class float. But one urban legend describes these healing waters as the backdrop for a deadly love triangle.

The Beautiful Sisters Juarez

Love and Murder Haunt the Banks of the Frio River

Photo: Flickr/Jeff Lynch

During the early 1900s, the Juarez family lived along the banks of the Frio. The proud parents had two beautiful daughters. One of the daughters was named Maria. She wanted nothing more than to meet the man of her dreams, settle down somewhere in the hills outside the Frio River, and raise a houseful of kids.

As the sisters grew older, Maria’s sister married and started a family. Maria confided in her that this too was her greatest wish. She saw her sister’s happy family and her look of perpetual satisfaction and knew absolutely that one day she would meet her dream man and start a family of her own.

A Marriage Proposal and An Indecent Proposal

Love and Murder Haunt the Banks of the Frio River

Photo: Flickr/Mike Fitzpatrick

Enter Anselmo Tobar. While visiting a nearby ranch with her family, Maria was swept off her feet by one of the ranch hands — a dashing young man named Anselmo. Often Maria would sneak out of her house to the banks of the Frio where she would meet Anselmo at night.

A few weeks passed and Anselmo asked for Maria’s hand in marriage and Maria accepted. Upon hearing the news, Maria’s sister’s husband, Gregorio,  caught Maria alone and confessed his undying love for her. He even told her that he would leave Maria’s sister so they could run away together. Maria refused his advances and told him that Anselmo was the only man that she loved.

The Ghost of Maria

Love and Murder Haunt the Banks of the Frio River

Photo: Flickr/alfproducciones

One night when Maria walked down to the banks of the Frio to wait for her lover, she encountered her sister’s husband. With crazed eyes, Gregorio ranted in a terrible rage. Maria knew she needed Anselmo to protect her but before she could run, Gregorio drew a revolver and shot her in the chest. The blood from Maria’s pierced heart soaked the shores of the river that night.

Some people claim that her ghost still roams the banks of the Frio River to this day. Her spirit haunts the place unable to find peace as her dreams of great love, marriage, and children were taken from her by a cowardly and jealous man.