Elisabeth Mandala was an 18 year old senior at Kempner High School, in Sugar Land, Texas.
The Ft. Bend County teen was pretty, popular (the prom queen type of popular), and only weeks away from her high school graduation.
She lived with her family in a home in Plantation Stables, she loved horses, and she had an active social life.
For all intents and purposes, it would seem that Elisabeth led the carefree and fun-filled life of an average high school teenager in the United States - above average even.
But, there was another side to Elisabeth Mandala, an adventurous side that would eventually lead her to a mysterious and violent death.
The tragic incident has caused speculation around the country, it has drawn the ire of internet commentators who could not possibly know the whole story, and it has left law enforcement officials to contend with yet another unsolved mystery and possible cold case.
At the heart of the tragic incident, there are her many friends and family members who are left to wonder, “What really happened to Elisabeth Mandala?”
A Double Life?
According to various news reports, Elisabeth Mandala lived somewhat of a double life.
In addition to her average high school teen lifestyle, she was an exotic dancer at a cabaret club in the nearby town of Pasedena, Texas.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the manager of the club stated that Mandala performed under the name “Lovely.”
The manager went on to state that “Lovely” was such a gigantic hit with the patrons who frequented the club, that her picture was actually featured in a guide to Houston-area nightlife.
Reportedly, no one who knew her had any idea of her adult entertainment activities.
However, this piece of information is under scrutiny because one report reflects that her mother told police that her daughter was a stripper.
Alleged Criminal Aspirations
Although she was involved with the National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America), close family members have suggested that she was more interested in heading toward a different sort of “career path.”
According to an ABC News report, Elisabeth’s mother made the statement that her daughter had previously expressed an interest in becoming a coyote.
A “coyote” is a slang term for a person who smuggles illegal aliens across the U.S. Border.
The illegal human smuggling business, or “people smuggling” business that is closely related to human trafficking, and it has grown more sophisticated in recent years.
Advances in technology has helped them to streamline their operations, and make it easier to get illegal aliens across the border, harder for law enforcement officials to track,more lucrative for coyotes, and very attractive those who aspire to the “trade.”
Events Leading Up to The Tragedy:
- Elisabeth was last seen alive on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - she was leaving her mother’s home
- The following message was posted to her Facebook Page “im in mexico :) ill be back thursday.”
- Her mother reported Elisabeth missing around noon on Saturday, April 30, 2011
- Her mother stated that she was led to believe by her daughter, that she was headed off to Mexico to meet up with someone
- Later in the day, on Saturday, April 30, Mexican authorities found her body, along with two men, Dante Ruiz Siller, 38, and Luis Angel Estrella Mondragon, 44 .Their bodies were found in a crashed truck, in the small town of Mina
- At first, authorities believed she had been involved in an automobile accident, but it was later revealed that the accident was a badly staged attempt to hide three murders
- Dante Ruiz Siller was a merchant, and Estrella Mondragon was a cab driver, they were both carrying multiple fake IDs.
- Neither the police, the two men’s families, nor Elisabeth’s friends and family know why the three of them were together, and no one knows how they were acquainted.
- The U.S. Consulate continues to work with Mandela's family and Mexican authorities in the investigation.
Many people around the country speculate that she went to off to Mexico to learn the illegal immigrant smuggling business, because she was infatuated with fast money.
If this is true, we cannot blame her for her infatuation with money, we all know that society places high value on people who have a lot of money - and many of us share her infatuation.
Irresponsible comments about the nature of the Elisabeth’s untimely demise have been made by insensitive and ignorant people everywhere from local and national news blogs to white supremacist group forums.
Part of the reason I created this hub is because I find it reprehensible that so many people blame this young murder victim for the horrific crime that was perpetrated against her.
If she did set out to learn how to obtain fast-money from smuggling illegal aliens across the border, and if she did in fact, eventually commit or attempt to commit a crime… then ONLY U.S. and/or Mexican Law bore a duty to punish her.
Amidst the facts and the speculation, it is apparent that the young woman apparently got into a situation that far exceeded her capability to handle.
Notoriously, Mexican crimes are rarely solved.Therefore, we will most likely never know what actually happened to Elisabeth Mandala.
She was a kid who lost her way, and she certainly did not deserve to suffer a violent death.
Rest in peace, Elisabeth
A Friend's Video Tribute to the Memory of Elisabeth Mandala
- Sources -
- Houston Chronicle Online
A Sugar Land teenager and two men were found beaten to death while traveling in Mexico last weekend, according to Mexican police, newspaper reports and a letter sent home by her school principal to students' parents Monday. Elisabeth Mandala, 18, and
- CBS News - Elisabeth Mandala: New Pictures of Teen Murdered in Mexico - Crimesider - CBS News
Teen Stripper Beaten to Death, Wanted to Smuggle Immigrants, Say Police Read more by Edecio Martinez on CBS News' Crimesider.
- CBS News Story - Elisabeth Mandala Murdered in Mexico:
Reports Say High School Student was Stripper Trying to Get into Smuggling Illegal Aliens Read more by Carlin DeGuerin Miller on CBS News' Crimesider.
fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on February 10, 2020:
Great article. Informative and truly sad for family.
Rachelle Williams (author) from Tempe, AZ on September 19, 2018:
Thank you, Paula. I wrote the article, because I stumbled across the story by accident, then I really started to feel for this young woman. I hope her family can find peace.
Suzie from Carson City on September 18, 2018:
How very sad. Such a vibrant, cute young woman with so much ahead of her. I certainly hope that true efforts are being made to investigate this tragedy but for many reasons, I doubt it.
If that comment is actually from her sister, I'm amazed you attracted a family member to read and comment! I really wish she would have written so much more, especially about her late sister.
You did a good job on this story, Rachelle. Paula
sister on May 11, 2012:
My sis liz never told my mother the honest truth what she was up too..just to clarify.Liz always said she was sleeping over at friends hm or meeting friends etc..Many of the articles are twisted not accurate.
Rachelle Williams (author) from Tempe, AZ on September 27, 2011:
@Pollyannalana - to which song are you referring? if you're speaking about one of the songs from the video, that is Luther Vandross. And yes, I do absolutely agree, it seems as though the edge is where she wanted to be.
@shea duane - yes, that is exactly it, young people just do not see the dangers in the world...
@sen sushi23 - I like that saying "we are all bind mice in this maze," befitting, huh?
@somethingblue - your sentiments are nice, and I do agree, but I do not think it will ever happen - money is what makes the world go 'round... but then again, so does love, but money seems to be winning right now.
somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on September 26, 2011:
Perhaps we would be better off looking for the cause of this tragic death.
We live on a planet everyone was born on and yet we create borders to keep ourselves confined and caged like animals and must earn money to pay rent to exist on this planet NO ONE OWNS . . . we all own!
It's time we tear down the borders that money creates and learn to give to each other unconditional love and truth.
Sushmita from Kolkata, India on September 26, 2011:
It is true that in a free-society like U.S. the teenager would be held responsible for her actions and the consequences. However, the problem is complex, socio-economic and cultural causes.. If the blame has to be pinned on to anyone but the criminals, then it should be the burden of the mother- for she failed to restrain her daughter even after knowing that she was taking the route of crime to gain fast money. But then that too would be only for the sake of sounding moralistic! ..we are all blind mice in the maze
shea duane from new jersey on September 26, 2011:
you did such a wonderful job telling this story... very sensitive. when i was young, i used to hitchhike without thinking of the possible consequences. i think young people often act without heavy consideration of potential dangers. poor girl. she is clearly a product of a money-fixated culture... and did not deserve to die.
Pollyannalana from US on September 26, 2011:
Wow that guy should be a star, I love the song and his voice. Good story too, who knows, that is what happens many times to people who cross the line. She took her chances thinking she was immortal as many teens do who end up dead. Sounds as if the edge is where she wanted to be.