Investigation Disocvery’s ‘See No Evil: The Vanishing Babysitter’ depicts how a 15-year-old teen, Elizabeth Ennen, was murdered brutally in Lubbock, Texas, in January 2011. The police initially suspected she had run away with her boyfriend but eventually uncovered a much more sinister plot. They checked hours of surveillance footage before they were able to catch the perpetrator in the act. If you’re interested in finding out more about the case, including the killer’s identity and current whereabouts, here’s what we know.
How Did Elizabeth Ennen Die?
Elizabeth Marlene Ennen AKA Beth was born to Virginia Ennen at the University Medical Center in Lubbock in Lubbock County, Texas, on May 17, 1995. A sophomore at Monterey High School, Beth had a beautiful voice and was a member of the choir. Her family stated she was an A-B student, describing her as a “bookworm.” Her cousin, Chris Moss, painted Beth as a sweet girl with a big and warm heart who thought of others before herself. He added, “She had a lot of ambition. I have no doubt she would’ve done something with her life.”
Her aunt, Mary Gomez, recalled, “Elizabeth was very much a typical teenager. She could be very mouthy at times, but she also had this … sweetness about her. She was just one of those persons that lightened up a room when she walked into it.” Beth’s mother, Virginia Ennen, reminisced, “Her main ambition was to be a nurse, ’cause that’s what she loved to do. She loved to help people.” Hence, it was shocking for the Ennen family when their teenage daughter did not return home after babysitting for a family friend on January 4, 2011.
After nearly three weeks of searching for the alleged runaway teen, police found 15-year-old Beth’s remains in a field off a remote county road near Shallowater off County Road 1700 about 6 miles north of Clovis Highway in northwest Lubbock County. The Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the body was Beth’s through fingerprint comparison, and her autopsy report determined she was strangled to death. However, the police did not disclose any information about whether the victim was sexually assaulted.
Who Killed Elizabeth Ennen?
Beth was babysitting for her family friend, Humberto “Bert” Maldanado Salinas Jr. She had agreed because she needed money to buy her brother a birthday present and also learn some added responsibilities. On January 4, the Monterey High School sophomore headed to the Carriage House Motel for her babysitting duties and was due back home around midnight. The Salinas family was living temporarily in the motel as they were looking for a new residence. However, Virginia got concerned when her daughter did not return home by 1:30 am.
Instead, Bert knocked on the door to give back a purse Beth had supposedly left while babysitting. According to Bert, he already dropped the teen girl off at the Ennen’s Central Lubbock residence near 42nd Street and Avenue L around 15 minutes earlier. He claimed he last saw her as she opened up the front door to her home. Virginia started panicking as she knew her daughter never walked through the door. She checked her bedroom and tried calling Beth on her cell phone, only to find the teen had left it at home.
Virginia called the police as Bert sat there supporting her, and the authorities initially assumed she had run away from home like many other teenagers. However, her aunt, Mary Gomez, said, “She wouldn’t leave without her cell phone. If a young person runs away, they don’t just leave with nothing.” According to the episode, Bert helped the Ennen family hand out flyers and ask neighbors if they had seen the 15-year-old. The investigators initially focused their investigation on Bert’s 19-year-old son, whom Beth had been dating.
However, the police eventually ruled the son out as a suspect and turned their attention toward his father. He had an extensive criminal history that includes convictions of domestic assault and injury to a child. The officers retrieved surveillance footage from the Carriage House Motel on the night of January 4. The camera captured Bert walking back toward the room where Beth was babysitting around 10:45 pm. The security footage showed the teen rushing out of the hotel room holding her purse at 11:47 pm. She looked to be panicked and scared.
The chilling camera footage showed Bert following behind her, only wearing a white tank top and pants. As the detectives looked on, they saw Bert escorting Beth back to the room while holding onto her arm tightly. Approximately eight minutes later, Bert and Beth exited the room once again and walked down the hallway. All of a sudden, the teen babysitter tried to turn in a different direction to escape from his grip, but Bert easily overpowered her and forced her to walk to the parking lot.
When confronted with the video evidence, Bert confessed that he strangled Beth to death and led the police to her body which was dumped behind a shed in a deserted area. According to investigators, Bert came back to the hotel room at 10:45 pm while under the influence and tried to sexually assault Beth. However, he knew he had to cover his actions as soon as the teen tried to escape. The Ennen family was crestfallen as Bert had been a dear family friend for years. Virginia had even given him a place to stay for a while when he was homeless.
Where is Humberto Salinas Now?
Humberto Salinas AKA Bert, then 46, admitted to killing Beth after or in the middle of kidnapping her and pled guilty to capital murder in April 2012. Prosecutors dropped the aggravated kidnapping charge against him as a result of the plea. Former Lubbock County criminal district attorney Matt Powell stated how he struggled with the decision over whether to take the case to trial or offer Bert a deal. However, he conceded there were some details in the case that would have potentially cast the family and the victim in a negative light.
Regarding a possible motive for the crime, Matt said, “I think there’s just evil in the world, and she ran into it that day.” So the prosecutors opted to give the family closure while keeping Bert behind bars for the rest of his life. In exchange for his guilty plea, the court gave Bert a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. According to official court records, the 57-year-old is serving his life sentence at the H. H. Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas.