Small town tragedy: More than a headline

Memorial located at 309 Bowie St. in memory of Graciela Ceniceros

Photo by Lisa Morton

By Lisa Morton

This week, The Advocate is faced with reporting the tragic account of an apparent murder/suicide that has left broken hearts and many questions for grieving families and the community of Van Horn as a whole.  A story that in our hearts we do not want to tell.  But that is not a choice. 

In the early morning hours last Saturday, Culberson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a 911 call and were dispatched to an apparent domestic disturbance at 309 Bowie Street.  Upon arrival at the scene, 21 year old Luis Armando Lopez of Van Horn wielded a knife and charged a local deputy.  The deputy discharged his firearm shooting Lopez in the abdomen area.  Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reported that Graciela Ceniceros 26 also of Van Horn was transported to Culberson County Hospital where she later died from multiple stab wounds before deputies arrived. Lopez was transported to El Paso Medical Center where he later died of self-inflicted stab wounds and gunshot wounds.

Ceniceros and Lopez attended Van Horn High School and were the parents of two young girls age 2 and 3.  Ceniceros had worked as a Certified Prevention Specialist since May of 2012 with the local office of Aliviane, Inc. a behavioral health agency serving West Texas counties.  She provided much needed services to Culberson County and area residents including regular awareness and prevention programs coordinated with the Culberson County Allamoore ISD. The agency also dispensed school supplies to students in need.  Lopez had worked for local road assistance companies.

As the situation requires, the incident is now being investigated by the Texas Rangers.   


  1. I visited your town briefly many years ago and have fond memories of it. I have chanced upon this report and wish to express my sympathy to all those affected by this horrific tragedy.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Chris, London, England.

  2. Hi. I am from England and passed through Van Horn many years ago on an epic journey across the States. Your town remains the only one where I have seen genuine Texas two step dancing! By accident I stumbled upon this news report and wish to express my total horror and deepest sympathy for those affected by this tragedy.
    Two girls orphaned. What can one say? Mere words aren’t enough.
    My thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this event.


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