Former GOP State Senate Candidate 'Bound, Gagged, Tortured' in Hotel Attack

A former Republican State Senate candidate has told how she was "bound, gagged, tortured" by a group in a Texas hotel on Christmas Eve.

Three people have been charged over the attack on Vanessa Tijerina, who ran for election to the Texas State Senate in November and has previously run for Congress.

Tijerina, aged 42, said she was lured to an inn in Raymondville after receiving a call from someone who told her they wanted to speak in person about her personal safety.

She told local news station KVEO, that a woman wearing a "black bra" at the Texas Inn in Frontage Road had told her she had "something very important regarding her safety" to tell her.

Instead, Tijerina said she was attacked by three people who left her with swollen eyes, facial bruising, damaged teeth and boot marks on her face.

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In a Facebook broadcast posted hours after the attack, she showed bruises and swelling to her face and said that "somebody wanted this done to my face."

"I was called to a location ... They made it seem like they had something really, really important to tell me and they couldn't tell me on the phone and so I had to drive to them.

"I never fought back because I knew that if I fought back it was going to go worse for me and I probably wouldn't survive.. and I needed to survive for my daughters."

Amanda Salinas, Ariel Vera and Raymond Santana have been arrested over the incident, police said.

Tijerina alleges another individual was giving orders for the attack over the phone, however that has not been confirmed by investigators.

In another Facebook Live shortly after the arrests on Tuesday, the former GOP candidate thanked police for their efforts, said her injuries were healing, and said she was confident another arrest would follow.

"The one person that's absolutely missing from this is the person who was giving the orders for the torture. That person still has not be found or identified yet."

Raymondville Police Department and Tijerina have been contacted for comment.

Tijerina ran for election to the Texas State Senate to represent District 27 last month. She lost the vote after securing 72,768 (35.2 percent of the total), compared to Democrat Eddie Lucio, who won 134,035 votes (64.8 percent), according to Ballotpedia.

Her defeat came one month after the Texas Republican Party announced it would no longer actively support Tijerina's campaign, citing "multiple arrests and shocking evidence of driving under the influence."

Police said they found "crack pipes" in Tijerina's car in June, when she was charged with driving while intoxicated with child passengers.

"Her behavior does not reflect the values of the GOP of Texas, and we do not wish to promote anyone of her character," the party said in a statement.

In 2016, Tijerina ran as a Green Party candidate, seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 15th Congressional District of Texas.

That same year, she was arrested for a food stamp scam which, according to court records, involved the congressional hopeful receiving thousands of dollars after falsely claiming she was part of a single-parent household.

The incident had been "politically motivated", she told CBS 4 News at the time.

Former Texas State Senate candidate Vanessa Tijerina
Vanessa Tijerina shared pictures of her injuries on Facebook where she has also been posting updates on her recovery and the ongoing investigation into the attack. Vanessa Tijerina / Facebook