Abused, assaulted and allegedly held against his will for five years.
“The only time the door opened was when they brought in the food,” said Las Cruces resident Marco Olvera. “We weren’t allowed to go to school.”
In an exclusive interview with ABC-7, Olvera said his stepfather held his mother and six siblings captive in a mobile home in Deming.
“Me and my brother saw our share of physical abuse,” Olvera said. “The last thing you’d want to do is anything to upset him, and when you’re being controlled in a mental and physical relationship, the odds are against you.”
Olvera said his stepfather locked him and his brother in one bedroom with a bathroom for five years.
“There was a gap on the floor where we would lay down to watch tv from the living room and sometimes he didn’t like that because he could see us, or see our shadows through underneath the door,” Olvera said. “We weren’t allowed to open windows.”
As an undocumented teenager, he said his stepfather threatened to deport him.
“All he could have done is just make a call and I would have gone back,” he said.
A leap of faith
Olvera will never forget the night of April 22nd, 2007.
“It was around 2 in the morning, and my mom wakes us up,” Olvera recalled. She just pointed at the window.”
Taking the leap of faith after five years, Olvera, his siblings and his mother drove to Las Cruces. However, he told ABC-7 that starting over was incredibly difficult.
“I was going to be 14 and I didn’t know English,” he said. “I didn’t know how to read or write. I didn’t know math, history, science, pop culture.”
With the help of La Casa, a local domestic violence shelter, Olvera said his siblings and mother were able to create a new life for themselves.
In the public school system, Olvera found himself at home working for the Las Cruces High student television station, where I met him ten years ago. With his interest in production and my love for storytelling, we both discovered our passions in Bulldawg Broadcast.
“I found media,” he said. It was the only thing that I was having fun with. It was rewarding.”
A new life
Now 26, Olvera owns a successful production business in Las Cruces called Palamora. He runs the business with his best friend from eighth grade, Isaac Palafox. He also graduated with his associate’s degree from New Mexico State University.
Olvera celebrated his twenty-first birthday unlike most peers his age: Becoming a citizen of the United States.
“When I finally did become a U.S. citizen, I was just like, “Okay, I can run now,'” Olvera said. “I’ve been sitting on the bench for so long, that now I’m on the field and I just want to go.”
After gaining his citizenship, he returned to the mobile home where he was once held against his will.
“I drove out there and I looked at it,” Olvera said. “I was at peace.”
On Thursday night Olvera spoke at the annual La Casa Candlelight Vigil at Young Park.
He is also working on a book called In the Land of Opportunity.
“I want to go higher so my mother can see it was worth it,” Olvera said. “The pain, the suffering, everything (she) went through is worth it.”