AUSTIN, Texas — One of Raul Meza Jr.'s first victims was Kendra Page, an 8-year-old Austin girl who Meza was convicted of raping and murdering in 1982 while he was on parole for a robbery conviction.
Meza served 11 years in prison for her murder before being released on good behavior in 1993.
KVUE's Quita Culpepper spoke with Kendra Page's older sister, Shawn Page, about her little sister and what she hopes happens to Meza after his most recent arrest.
Quita Culpepper: Shawn, how old were you when Kendra was killed?
Shawn Page: I was 10. I went to the school later on. I didn't want to go. I finally showed up. And in the video that is there – when I found out that it was my little sister – you could see her screaming, see me screaming on one of the videos. It was a sad day for all of my family.
Culpepper: I'm so sorry. I know that this story with Raul Meza is bringing up so many different feelings for you and for your family. When you first heard his name again after so many years, what went through your mind?
Page: My dad fighting to keep him in prison all those years. And still nothing came of it. My sister took over [for] my dad after he passed away, and she said there was nothing she could do, that he was a free man. And then to find out that this has happened to so many other people, it's a tragedy. My dad knew he was dangerous, and no one would listen to us.
Culpepper: And so many other lives, so many other tragedies could have been prevented if somebody had just listened.
Page: Yeah. And it was it was hard. My dad – we wrote letters in the parole board. We did everything that a family should do to keep this from happening. And it's hard knowing that no one no one listened. Not the parole board, nothing. My sister was interviewed before he got out and the last time, and she tried to say that it wasn't right for them to be letting him out, and they did. To find out – but he took a life of a roommate, of a person that was trying to help them.
Culpepper: What do you hope happens to Raul Meza this time around?
Page: I know it's not going to happen because of my little sister. I know that you continue to live a life of not being Christian and all this other stuff. And I really ... as a family, my whole family would like him to kind of be tortured, like he tortured our lives all these years.
Culpepper: Let's switch gears a little bit. Tell me about your sister, Kendra. What was she like?
Page: Oh, she was so loving. So, I mean, I protected her. We were kind of, you know, did all the same things and stuff and would walk to school and, you know, and she was a very sweet little girl. Wouldn't do any harm to anyone. She loved life. She loved playing outside a lot, riding her bike. And the day that this happened, we're going back to school, we were on Christmas break. And my mom liked to do our hair up in little pigtails and put little curls in, and so they'd be little ringlets. And she got that done and then went to ride a bike. And that was the last we seen her. And a friend came and said they found the dead body at the school. But we love – she loved singing on the, or she loved playing the organ and singing. And we miss her very much.
Culpepper: What kind of toll has Kendra's death taken on you and on your family over the years?
Page: Well, they say death brings you closer together. We all went our separate ways. I don't even talk to my sisters or my brothers, and I barely speak to my mom. It's hurt us in the long run. We're so combined to our own life and not sharing or loving with another man like we should. It's hit us hard. We've gone into hating each other instead of being together. Because of this. And we were such a good family growing up together. I'm sorry.
Culpepper: No, it's okay. Now that Raul Meza has been caught again, do you think that it might bring y'all closer? It might bring you back together?
Page: I hope so. I hope. My mom, she did say after the interview to call her. So I'm going to give her a call. She lives in New Mexico, and we're just so far apart. I live in Missouri, and my older brother, I don't even know where he lives just any more. My younger brother lives in Dallas and my sister lives in part of Texas, and he was so close to her – Raul Meza was close to her. And I heard that when he got out, he was going to kill her because she did an interview and he heard on the news, saw her on the news, and he goes, "I'm going to get the girl." And just knowing that he – how close he was to her scared me.
Culpepper: If you had a chance to speak to the families of all of the other victims overall, what would you say to them?
Page: Please don't let this tear you apart. You will get what's coming to him. God knows what a tragedy your family has been through. Just hang in there. And if you have to reach out to family, friends, you know, I'm there for you. If you need to reach out to me, I'm there for you.
Culpepper: Shawn, is there anything else about this you think people really need to know or they need to understand?
Page: Well, you should be aware of your surroundings. Know what's out there. Please, I'm begging you. Do not let Raul Meza out of jail. Do not let him free. He is proving that he is the killer and doesn't recognize life. He doesn't care about his own, and he doesn't care about yours. Please be aware of your surroundings. And with the Page family, we love you all. And be safe.
Culpepper: Okay, Shawn, thank you so much for talking with us today. It means so much, and I know it's going to mean so much to the families of the other victims as well.
Page: Thank you. Thank you for having me on. May God be with you.
Culpepper: And bless you and your family. Thank you, Shawn. Thank you. Bye bye.
Page: Bye bye.