By RAY QUIROGA
Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS
Andres (Andy) Bridges believes that there has to be somebody out there with answers, and he’s determined to find that person (or people), even if it means standing on the same corner of Queen Isabella Blvd. every day for the rest his life.
Bridges said he just got tired – tired of the uncertainty, tired of the pain, tired of living with the emotional scars caused by not knowing his father that he just had to take some type of action.
In the summer of 1979, months before Bridges was even born, his father, Andres (Andy) Puentes was brutally murdered on the streets of Port Isabel, the same spot that Bridges has been standing on for a number of days, holding signs which he hopes will bring attention to his plight.
The murder of this former Tarpon standout and honors student rocked this tight-knit community back in 1979, and while police suspected up to four individuals, two were eventually brought in for questioning but ultimately released. The murder has since gone unsolved.
“I don’t know; I just had it. I don’t want my son to grow up like me. I don’t want him to grow up without a father and not have his rightful name. That’s all I want is for my son to have his name and for me to have my dad’s name,” Bridges said. “I wasn’t even born when my dad was killed. My mom was only three months pregnant. It’s not right. I don’t even have my dad’s name because I didn’t even know him and my parents weren’t married. They took that away from me; they owe me that,” Bridges said.
Puentes was shot four times in the back in broad daylight, ending the 22-year old’s life. Bridges, who spent the majority of his life outside of the Valley, returned to the area five years ago and currently resides on the Island. He said that he hasn’t officially spoken to local law enforcement about the case, but hopes that someone would come forward to offer new leads or evidence.
“I talked Mayor Joe Vega and he said he would help, but I haven’t talked to anyone else about this,” Bridges said. “All I want is someone to help, their help,” he added.
Bridges, who’s 33, said that his cousin was a detective at the Port Isabel Police Department at the time of the murder and at that time investigators believed that at least two juveniles then may have been involved in the his father’s death.
“I’m a sole survivor. I’m my dad’s legacy. My son and I should have my dad’s last name, but that was taken from us, and that’s not right,” Bridges said.
Read this story in the April 4 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.