Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Celebration that Never Was

With just barely 24 hours into the new year, a heartbreaking family tragedy has the island abuzz. In the afternoon of New Year's Day, in the town of Florida, a 45-year old man allegedly set his family on fire with kerosene. According to Carmen Rodríguez, chief of the Fire Department, Justino Sánchez Díaz connected a plastic tube to a propane gas tank and used it as a torch to burn 13 of his family members alive. Among the victims is 25-year old Kate Donahue, who was visiting the island from Seattle to meet her fiancé's family. She is now in critical condition, with over 80% of her body burned. At the moment, four of the victims have died, including Jesús Sánchez, Kate's fiancé and nephew of the alleged perpetrator.

Justino Sánchez Díaz is currently under arrest. He had allegedly planned the family gathering to celebrate the new year, his nephew's engagement and a birthday. Neighbors and other family members have described him as "unbalanced and problematic." Although a brother-in-law of Sánchez Díaz had previously warned the police of his behavior, it fell on deaf ears. Others in the community maintain that he did not suffer from any mental issues. Some of the most horrific crimes which occur on the island are indeed perpetuated by those who seem to suffer from severe psychological problems though. Case in point, back in October, a 14-year old raped and beat his 64-year old grandmother. Some of these crimes could have been prevented if only more attention and urgency were given to mental health issues.

Update (1/7/10): Kate Donahue became the fifth victim of this New Years' Day tragedy. She passed away at a Miami hospital yesterday.

(The image above of Jesús Sánchez and Kate Donohue was obtained from


Anonymous said...

Puerto Rican society is the sickest I have experienced in the world. Behind all the propaganda of "The Island of Enchantment" is a stratified, unintellectual, and conformist society that punishes those who dare call out the ills of this place.

The USA should cut its ties to this island and bid it good riddance!

Anonymous said...

"deaf" ears

adriana said...

Thanks for the correction. My mind must have been on the victims when I wrote "death."

Rosa said...

I think "Anonymous" is one of the rotten apples in our world. My heart goes out to all the family members and I pray to God to keep them close to him, the ones that left this world, they are in a better place, the ones left behind are the ones that need our prayers. I also pray for "Anonymous" soul...too full evil. PR has it's problems but so does NY, PA, Fla...this world is in trouble.
p.s. You showed "A" who has class.

Kofla Olivieri said...

Una tragedia.

Anonymous said...

Rosa, Chongas like you are a principle reason PR is in the toilet. If you were as perceptive as you think you are, you would know just how doomed PR is.

But that's ok, you will feel it in due time when this place implodes. The jibaras like you will go out like trollops.