In his youth Juan was shown to be a troublesome boy who pulled pranks and bullied young Lucia and Esperanza. His antics included throwing rocks at them, taking their towels, stealing their food, and apparently gluing Esperanza's pigtails together. Despite this Esperanza believed that he could be changed if shown compassion. The defining moment happened when two other bullies threw Juan's shoes into a tree over a ravine. Esperanza climbed up the tree and paid the ultimate sacrifice when the branch broke and she fell into the ravine.
Esperanza's sacrifice was not in vain as Lucia learned from her example and invited Juan to sit with her at Esperanza's funeral. She also gave the necklace Esperanza gave to her to Juan saying "she would want it that way". Juan ended up moving away later with his grandmother. While it is unknown what happened to Juan during the years in between. He appeared years later in charge of a halfway house encouraging Matthew Parker to not give up on witnessing to Jay as Esperanza had to him many years ago; still with Esperanza's necklace in possession.
It is mentioned that Juan lived with his grandmother as a child. It is unknown if he has any other living family.