It was just days after Caitlynne Guajardo was murdered. The man she called her husband was accused of stabbing her and their unborn child to death. The world was spinning for Caitlynne’s mom, Melanie Infinger.
It was all a blur. The funeral. The grief. The sadness.
She finally had the chance to have some sleep, away from the tears. Infinger drifted off in her dream, though it became the first time she saw her 21-year-old daughter since her death. Infinger dreamt the two were in the car. Though, even in the dream state, she quickly realized her daughter wasn’t there.
“In my dream I was like, ‘wait a minute. You’re not really here,” Infinger recounted to FrontPageDetectives in a recent interview. “I went into a panic and kept crying. And Caitlynne kept saying, ‘Mom, it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK.’”
It’s a phrase that stuck with Infinger for the next months. Occasionally she would find a note or poem her daughter left behind. They were tucked in novels as bookmarks or just an old Facebook post that showed up again in the timeline.
One day Infinger was going through some items and came across the book her daughter gave her for Christmas, just a few months before she was savagely killed by a man who some believe shouldn’t have even been free. It was the last book, Caitlynne ever gave her mom — it was titled, “It’s Going to Be OK.”
“And I thought,” Infinger said. “If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what was.”
A QUIET PROTECTOR
Caitlynne was Infinger’s first child, the one she described as her first love. Infinger raised Caitlynne as a single parent in Texas. Her dad left the two early in Caitlynne’s life. Though he was gone, Caitlynne had his personality.
She was introverted and pretty quiet, Infinger said. Caitlynne took to poems, art and messages to express how she felt. They were often feelings that were deeper than most children and teens experience, her mom recounted.
In school, Caitlynne faced bullying, which added to the typical teenage angst. It also dented her self-esteem.
Infinger said her daughter was beautiful with hair that would frequently change in life. Her smile was almost identical to her mother's. However, the straight hair was noticeably different from Infinger’s curls. Despite the beauty, Caitlynne didn’t believe it, Infinger said.
Caitlynne had a small group of friends and her young sister, Madison. She was 8-and-half-years younger and Caitlynne quickly became like a second mother. Whether it was friends or Madison, Caitlynne was quick to stand up for others. Mom added her daughter was a “spitfire.”
She would text the friend who was being picked on or reach out to someone when they had a bad day.
“Her heart was so big,” Infinger said. Later, mom added, “I was such a proud mom seeing her go out of her way for people. She just loved people.”
Hilarious and sarcastic, Caitlynne always had the family laughing. Her “heart of gold” had them in awe at her selflessness.
Caitlynne took Madison under her wing and even stepped on mom’s toes a bit. Leading to questions about who the adult was in the household.
If something happened to Madison at school, before Infinger could even get words out, Caitlynne was describing how the treatment was unacceptable and whether she needed to talk to Madison’s teacher.
The two sisters were close, and Caitlynne was just about ready to celebrate her younger sister’s entry into teen years — and high school— when she was murdered.
The family planned a combined party to celebrate Madison’s birthday and to reveal the gender of Caitlynne’s expected baby. Caitlynne had recently given birth to Alexis and tried to get pregnant soon after. Her first try ended in a miscarriage, but now she was pregnant with another child.
Motherhood suited Caitlynne, Infinger said, as the young mom found her true calling. She would do anything for Alexis, spending her money on the child, never herself.
“Alexis was her world, and she would do anything for her,” Infinger said.
A MOTHER’S INSTINCT
Caitlynne wanted to protect Alexis, even as her father came home after spending a couple of days in jail. On July 31, 2019, Alex Guajardo was arrested for allegedly assaulting Caitlynne.
The family saw problems in the relationship between Guajardo and Caitlynne. Infinger tried to mention the perceived red flags, but Caitlynne wanted to live her own life. She had to make her own mistakes.
Infinger pleaded with Caitlynne to come to her home for a few days after Guajardo was arrested. But, Caitlynne wanted to stay in her apartment, it was her home. The family feared Guajardo would be released from jail on bond.
Not only was Guajardo facing the domestic violence charge, but he had been arrested on DUI allegations months earlier.
Caitlynne knew there was potential for trouble when Guajardo was eventually released from jail on Aug. 3, 2019. He didn’t have to post any post, a Harris County, Texas, magistrate instead ordered he be released on his own recognizance despite the charges. Guajardo was ordered to stay away from Caitlynne, though.
With the fear of a free Guajardo, Caitlynne gave Alexis to her stepmom to watch.
“She knew it was unsafe, so she gave Alexis to her stepmom and said, ‘I’ll call you when it safe’,” Infinger recalled. “’I’ll call you in an hour.’”
A short time later, Guajardo returned to the apartment. There, he beat and stabbed Caitlynne to death, according to court records. He allegedly told investigators he stabbed his wife in the abdomen so no other man would raise her child. Houston police charged Guajardo with capital murder.
Those criminal charges are still pending.
Infinger and other family members were concerned for Caitlynne. They knew it was possible Guajardo would be released. They spent Aug. 3 trying to get a hold of Caitlynne, but she wasn’t answering. Infinger had a suspicion Guajardo took her phone, as he did in previous alleged assaults.
As they were trying to figure out what to do, Infinger’s phone rang. It was an unknown number and like most, she typically doesn’t answer those calls. She thought, though, what if it was Caitlynne calling from a neighbor or friend’s phone. It was the medical examiner’s office.
The woman from the office was unaware Infinger hadn’t been told about her daughter’s killing. She began to speak and quickly realized Infinger had no clue her daughter, 21-years-old, had been ripped from the world.
“Immediately, I knew,” Infinger said. “It’s like in that moment I just started screaming. I was like, ‘what happened?’”
The woman from the medical examiner’s office tried to end the call, saying she would need to call back. Infinger wasn’t having it. She wanted the details about what happened to Caitlynne.
“That’s when I lost it. ‘What did he do to my baby?’I was screaming. I was on the floor just crying ‘cause I knew she was gone,” Infinger’s voice started to crack as she sobbed in describing that moment. “I knew it.”
‘I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN LOOKED’
Caitlynne liked to watch True Crime documentaries and shows, Infinger said. Her mom now wondered why if that’s what led Caitlynne to press charges against Guajardo, knowing she could end up dead. Sadly, she did.
Pasadena, Texas, police investigators immediately called Infinger to apologize for the mix-up. They profusely apologized for how Infinger found out her 21-year-old child was left in a bloody mess in the apartment.
“Everything just stopped, everything was just slow motion,” Infinger recalled of the aftermath.
The family held a funeral, which saw hundreds in attendance. It was there the beauty Caitlynne might have downplayed or not believed was shown in the bright light. The people in attendance and the stories they told of Caitlynne showed the impact they had on her life.
For Infinger, though the moment was tough, it was one of the lasting images she had of Caitlynne, once she wishes she didn’t have two years later.
There was a private viewing for the family, and it was an open casket. Infinger described how Caitlynne was swollen from the attack and her nose was still broken. Her daughter’s throat was slashed in the attack and Caitlynne needed significant make-up to cover the scar.
If not for a Caitlynne’s tattoo — a rising sun, modeled after a similar one her father had — on her hand, Infinger said she wouldn’t even have recognized her own daughter.
“I wish they would have told me that,” Infinger said. “I wished they would have told me how bad it was because I wouldn’t even have looked in the casket. Because I have that vision in my head.”
The blur continued and Infinger credited her support system for carrying her through the next few days. But, Infinger still had Madison to raise. She now also had Alexis, her granddaughter, to raise.
“Even if I wanted to stay in bed all day, I couldn’t,” Infinger said.
Now, two years after the killing, Guajardo still awaits his trial. While some have called for the death penalty, prosecutors told Infinger they don’t plan to seek capital punishment. She is fine with that decision.
“I do know that he will go to prison for life,” Infinger said. “Our ultimate goal is life without parole.”
As a Christian, Infinger said she doesn’t feel it’s her place to decide whether a person should die.
“Do I think he deserves to rot in prison? Absolutely,” Infinger said. “Does he deserve whatever comes to him in prison? Absolutely.”
With the trial on the horizon, Infinger knows it will be difficult. She said she doesn’t want to know many of the details about what happened to Caitlynne. She also knows even a conviction won’t be “justice.”
“There’s no closure, there’s no true justice because she’s never coming back,” Infinger said.
There also won’t be justice because Infinger holds another group responsible for her daughter’s death. She has filed a lawsuit against Harris County and several officials. The crux of the case is Guajardo should have never been released on a no-cash bond. By releasing him, the county contributed to Caitlynne’s death, the suit alleged.
Harris County has yet to answer the lawsuit filed earlier this month in federal court. Officials did not respond to local media requests for comment.
Infinger said she filed the lawsuit to make sure no family has to go through what they’ve experienced since Caitlynne’s murder.
“God gave me a gift of gab for a reason. Obviously, using my daughter’s death and what happened with the criminal system…so no other parent and loved one has to go through this,” Infinger said.
The family is also pushing for legislative changes through a bill called “Caitlynne’s Law.” The bill seeks to prevent the release of violent offenders from jail ahead of their trial. The bill —which has merged with a similar bill named for a police officer killed in the line of duty in 2017 — passed the Texas Senate this week.
Infinger said there are many people who think they know the criminal justice system, but they don’t know the ins and outs. She added county officials are giving out no-cash bonds “like popcorn.” Criminals are getting these types of bonds despite having several pending cases, Infinger claimed.
“There is no reason for people to stop committing crimes because they sit there laughing at Harris County,” Infinger said.
‘JUST NOT PHYSICALLY’
As the family waits for both the civil and criminal processes to play out, they are left with only memories of Caitlynne. There are tough moments when they realize Caitlynne can’t be there for the milestones in Alexis’ life. Caitlynne missed the first words and steps. She will miss the first day of school and Alexis’ wedding.
That is when Infinger turns to the notes and her faith to remind her Caitlynne is still around.
“I’m not missing it Mom,” Infinger said her daughter tells you. “I’m here. I’m with you, always…I feel she is always with us, just not physically.”
Infinger said she knows her daughter is in heaven with other relatives — her father and the two children she lost, one to a miscarriage and the other to murder. Caitlynne is now reaping the eternal rewards after going through hell with Guajardo.
Still, it doesn’t mean the mom isn’t quick to say she would give anything to get Caitlynne back, even just five minutes.
“I would just tell her how much I love her and how I was proud of her and how much I miss her,” Infinger said as she cried, thinking about being able to see Caitlynne again.
More than anything she just wanted to give her daughter a hug. Infinger is a self-described hugger and it drove Caitlynne insane at times. Caitlynne liked her own space and didn’t like when people invaded it.
The 21-year-old reluctantly hugged her mom, knowing it meant more to Infinger, even if it wasn’t Caitlynne’s favorite.
Infinger then quickly shifted to talk about their last hug a day before Caitlynne was murdered. Infinger left Caitlynne’s apartment and demanded a hug. She told her daughter, they never knew what could happen. Infinger could be hit by a bus on the way home.
“That’s why I always need a hug and to tell you I love you,” Infinger recalled. “She’d be like ‘Mom, don’t say that.’”
“I had no idea she would be the one I wouldn’t see again.”