Father of kidnapped Tijuana child says kidnapper is being protected by authorities

Translated by Fulano from articles in Agencia Frontera de Noticias and Frontera.

In a press conference held on June 19, 2013 by the State Attorney General, the details of a kidnapping and recovery of 8-year old Natalia Hernández Hernández in Tijuana were reported. She was kidnapped from her parents’ business on June 18, 2013 and found two hours later at the home of a person known to the family.

Sergio A. Lagunas Molina, Director of Investigation for the Deputy Attorney General for Tijuana, said that Blanca Estela Smith is the person presumed responsible for the crimes of kidnapping and corruption of minors of the 8-year old girl.

Lagunas Molina said the woman, a private nurse who treated the girl’s mother, went on June 18, 2013 to Natalia’s parents’ business and asked permission to take her to a bakery in the same shopping center as her parents’ ice cream business, located across from the Otay Mesa police station.

Smith returned a few moments later and said the little girl had returned to her parents’ business before her, as she did not want go into the bakery.

Upon not finding the little girl, the parents called the ministerial police to have the agents help look for her. The police detained Smith to interrogate her on the matter, and discovered she was responsible for the little girl’s disappearance.

Smith confessed that the child was at her home, and the police went to the location indicated by Smith in the Otay Jardín subdivision. There they found the girl in the yard, trying to climb over the wall to escape, as the house was locked to prevent her from leaving.

After being rescued, the child was taken to the Otay District Public Minister for examinations to see if she had been sexually abused or was given drugs.

The examination for sexual abuse was negative, but toxicology indicated the child was drugged with diazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety and muscle spasms.

On Monday, June 24, 2013, René Hernández Campos, father of the kidnapped child, publicly demanded justice, as he has detected irregularities in the judicial process. It appears the kidnapper is the sister of a judge.

The father of the victim went to the Court of Justice of the State Attorney General to ask for information regarding the case, as no one had given him any information. Upon arriving at the receptionist, he was told that the time for his appearance to give his declaration had passed. He had not been given any notice to appear, in spite of a legal requirement that he be so notified.

“I hoped they would do it today, Monday, inform me on how the case on the lady (Smith) is progressing, so I started to ask for people — to see what the status of the legal process was and see where things stood — and they told me that I had an appointment in the 7th criminal court and the summons never came to my house and I was there at home every day waiting,” he said.

He said that the nurse, Blanca Estela Smith, the presumed kidnapper of his daughter, changed her statement, as in her first statement to authorities she had said she took the little girl to demand a ransom of $10,000 (dollars).

Now, it appears the accused said it was not like that at all, and that some people in an automobile advised her to take the little girl to her house to avoid a possible kidnapping, and that when she could she should advise the girl’s parents.

“The story is different, because she took copies of photographs of the girl to walk around and post, … she also called out for her at the shopping center, and helped us look for her. It is obvious she is lying about what she is telling us,” said the girls’ father.

The father warned that this could be a case of influence peddling, as Smith’s brother is a civil judge, and the summons never was given to him to attend a hearing, with the goal of “shelving” the case.

The girl’s father said he does not know who to turn to or whom to direct his questions for more information and to avoid a failure of justice for the kidnapping of his daughter, as nobody has told him how to proceed, not even the Public Minister.

Share

Deno Fesler and the Dorothea Puente murder trial

Dorothea Helen Puente (January 9, 1929 – March 27, 2011) was a convicted American serial killer. In the 1980s, Puente ran a boarding house in Sacramento, California, and cashed the Social Security checks of her elderly and mentally disabled boarders. Those who complained were killed and buried in her yard.

She was believed to have been involved in over 19 murders, was charged with nine murders, and convicted of three. The longer story is here.

Puente was also accused of murdering her business partner, Ruth F. Monroe. Deno Fesler appeared as a defense witness for Dorothea Puente. He is described as the “embittered former son-in-law” of Ruth Monroe.

The woman murdered by  Dorothea Puente, Ruth F. Monroe, is the mother of Rosemary Clausen. Rosemary Clausen is the first wife of Dean Fesler, and they have two children together, Jason and Wade Fesler. Dean Fesler testified in the defense of the woman who murdered his wife’s mother and his two eldest son’s grandmother!!

Deno is such a wonderful person!

Share

American man murdered in Ensenada

Translated by Fulano from news articles in Ensenada.net and El Vigia.

The State Attorney General of Baja California is investigating the murder of a man which occurred Tuesday night, June 18, 2013 in the Mar de Ensenada subdivision of Ensenada, Baja California.

According to the preliminary official data, the body was found inside a home located on calle Retorno de los Gavilnaes, #121, in the Mar de Ensenada subdivision.

The dead man had multiple stab wounds in the chest, abdomen, neck and face.

According to the official report, the deceased was identified as Joe Souquette, 54 years of age, and who is an American citizen who lived in the home.

Neighbors of the victim said that Souquette was retired. He was a solitary person who did not have constant visitors and did not have relatives in the city.

The 54-year old man had difficulty walking, and moved slowly without the help of a cane, walker or wheel chair.

Share

Man Falls Four Stories From Bahia Hotel Cabo San Lucas

[From the Gringo Gazette and TripAdvisor website.]

And is still alive

Folks, you have got to stop pitching yourselves over the railings of balconies. This spring break we had two deaths by falling off hotel balconies, and now Charles Sights, from California, has sustained major injuries from falling from a fourth floor balcony at the Bahia in Cabo San Lucas. Amazingly, he lived through it, but with major injuries. And with major trauma between his family and St Lukes hospital where he was taken by ambulance. He was diagnosed with collapsed lungs, five broken vertebrae and four broken ribs, liver laceration, kidney and intestinal issues.

The hospital demanded prepayment up front, so his girlfriend offered up Sights’ credit card she took out of his shorts he was wearing. The hospital sucked $4,078 off that and explained there was internal bleeding, they would have to operate to stop the flow, and $10,000 more was needed. Sights had travelers insurance that covered up to $10,000 of emergency medical and that was offered up next. Carmen Spoerer, Sights’ girlfriend called his Blue Shield carrier and was told they had to pay the Mexican hospital upfront and then apply for reimbursement. Of course, by this time they were tapped out and had no more upfront money.

“Mario Trejo, the hospital administrator, kept demanding more money until we literally were screaming and crying that was he just going to let him die over money?” recounted Spoerer later. “My friend Terry was there and they tried to authorize his card for all they could get which was about $2000.” However his card was never charged). Eventually St Lukes went ahead with the surgery without payment. According to Spoerer, after the surgery Trejo asked for an additional $50,000 U.S., telling them to call everyone they knew and ask for money. “We asked him to be reasonable,” said Spoerer. We were expecting about $15,000 as we understand this was a serious injury requiring surgery. But who has $50,000? Or even that kind of credit card limit? But he would not budge and the staff at the desk was unhelpful. Twice I asked to have them let Allianz fax or email me the application for air evac to get the ball rolling. They told me they didn’t have a fax and that they could not open the email.

I had to leave, go to the Bahia, and complete the forms and fax them. I also called both my credit card companies trying to get a higher limit. Almost right after they received the fax, Allianz told me they authorized him to be air lifted out of Mexico. We were so excited. We went back to the hospital; however Mario would not medically release him to travel unless we paid the $50,000.”

An attorney was called, as was the American consulate, which infuriated Trejo according to Spoerer, but it did push him into negotiating. “It was at that meeting that it became apparent why Trejo believed he could get $50,000 from us”, said Spoerer. “He told me he that originally Allianz had given a guarantee of $50,000. I said yes but the policy was only $10,000. He said oh, no it was “open”. I said no, look at the policy card I gave you. It clearly states $10,000 limit. It had $50,000 as emergency evacuation and I think that is what he saw and miss read.”

“He then said he would “ask about a discount” It was now about 8 or 9 pm. He came back about an hour later and offered 15 percent off, making it still out of reach. I begged him to reconsider. He then said he would go back and ask, (ask who, I don’t know) if they could go lower. I told him he needed to get back ASAP as I had to let Allianz know about the air evac. He came back and offered us somewhere around $32000. We told him we could get $17000 plus the $4,078 he already charged the card. He said that would be ok.” But when Sights’ mother called the hospital with her credit card number, the staff could not get the cards run correctly, however they kept trying for more than an hour. Trying so many times, they had created a fraud issue and despite the mother telling them they had to fix it on their end they wouldn’t believe her. Finally the mother got Chase bank and the staff on the line and they got it run. It was about 3 am Saturday morning, 24 hours after being admitted into the hospital. They thought they were home free, not knowing a doctor’s permission was needed for a patient to be evacuated.

“Finally Mario seemed to grow exhausted, and snapped at us to ‘just take him.’ We thought we were home free,” said Spoerer. But some other Mexican walked up and said he could fly Sights out right now. When told no thank you, that there was a U.S. team coming, they were told by Trejo that waiting time would incur costs. Spoerer frantically contacted Allianz, begging them to hurry and were told the plane was on its way, and it was. He was finally flown home. Total paid: $22,000 for treatment. According to Spoerer, Sights has developed a seven inch abscess that American doctors are trying to tame, and Spoerer believes he is infected due to the surgery in Mexico because she saw some nurses chatting on cell phones while they were attending him in intensive care. From the United States, she told this paper that his pancreas was nicked during the spleen removal, and he has a staph infection that will require a stent. He’s being moved to Stanford University for this procedure.

“I have been travelling to Cabo for more than 17 years,” says Spoerer, “I had heard of this kind of thing but it’s another story when it happens to you. We thought we had covered our ass: we had a primary insurance and traveler’s insurance. We were careful. We are law abiding citizens. We treat everyone with respect and have been extremely generous with tips to everyone as we have been in the service industry ourselves. If we hadn’t been in a large group with resources we would be bringing my boyfriend home in a casket. Needless to say not one in our group of 12 will ever return to Cabo San Lucas again.

When contacted for the hospital’s explanation of this unfortunate issue, hospital administrator Mario Trejo had this to say: I am so sorry to hear about the accident Mr. Sights had while he and his family were on vacation. Regardless of how it happened, thank goodness he is OK and home to recover around friends and family. Accidents are not programmed and expected, and we have to have the culture to buy travel insurance and for it to have good coverage. I am a local resident living in Cabo so I have some insight as to why the hospital payment was due prior to his release. This is the practice not only here in Cabo, but in all of Mexico.

St Lukes accepts direct payment from the insurance companies worldwide, but in this case the policy would not pay outside the United States. This is not something our hospital has any control over. It is up to the injured to have a policy that will pay outside the country if they are going to travel outside the country. I agree, what person has access to $20,000 to $50,000 to prepay? That is insane, right? However, the Mexican hospitals, and hospitals in most other countries, (including the U.S.A.,) require pre-payment otherwise travelers return home and the bills are never paid. Hospitals, physicians and providers have to be paid. It is not fair for everyone who did everything in their hands to save your life and then you go behind them and say they did nothing well but expect money. Yes this is a business also. Everyone works and expects to get paid so I can assure you that when a Mexican person experiences these situations, or have some kind of emergency, we do
everything that is in our hands to pay our bills. Yes hospitals are indeed here to stabilize you and save your life, but there is no law that says we are not entitled to get paid and to charge for services. Our hospital every day helps the local community, helping patients who really need help. And we donate services as charity every day but not to abusive family members like these that try to take advantage after someone has saved their loved one’s life. Think about how many bills would go unpaid if the hospital had the attitude “you can pay us when you get home.” Are there still honest people out there that would follow through and pay? Yes. Would most? No. Because of this, these policies are in place in tourist destinations. I can only imagine what the bill would have been had those procedures been provided in the U.S. Much more than $21,000.

This is because we do not have a broken medical system here and there aren’t insurance companies and lawyers involved at every turn. There are a lot of foreign patients who have to pay at the time services are rendered. Your advice to beware is great advice for all traveling to any foreign country, not just Cabo. The coverage you have at home is not the coverage you have once you leave the U.S. and that is not the Mexican hospitals’, doctors’ or providers’ fault. I’m surprised anyone would leave their country without better travel insurance. Health insurance companies are bad enough about covering things in their own country, let alone an in entirely different country. The problem is foreigners are used to paying zero for healthcare, period. The costs in Mexico are decent. The costs for the same services in the U.S. would have been four times or more! The patient had five fractured ribs, fractured vertebras, both lungs were hemo-thoraxed and he required chest tubes. We gave him immediate emergency surgery, intensive care, did CT scans throughout almost all of his body, gave him ultrasound, gave him many blood transfusions, and much more. The patient was brought into the operating room in hypovolemic shock caused by the enormous amount of blood loss from the spleen injury. The spleen had to be removed. The tail of the pancreas was inspected visually and a drain was left in
place, no further intraoperative testing was done as he was still recovering from shock. All these decisions were well defined and based on current standards of care according to the American College of Surgeons. He was after surveillance and testing, he was discharged home apparently with no outstanding issues.

Pancreatic fistulas are within the spectrum of possible complications from a splenectomy, however, because of his condition, there were few options to pursue. Knowing that a complication might arise from a life threatening condition prompts a good doctor to treat the condition accordingly; attempting to avoid complications but aware these might arise. Considering a life saving surgery a “bad” surgery could not be completely accurate given the setting. If the pancreas would have been injured during an elective procedure then we could probably give it such a name. In general, patients who have had splenectomies are prone to infections if not vaccinated, but we did not have the opportunity to do so because CDC recommendations are to provide vaccination 14 days after surgery. We must also consider that he was in two hospitals prior to this infection and it is very difficult to pinpoint the source of the infection.

This gentleman fell four stories and we saved him. Had we not done the correct things he would not have lived. His risk of incurring some infection and complications due to all the procedures he underwent, was high to begin with, but we plunged in anyway, saved his life, stabilized him, and then asked for what we feel was a reasonable fee. We all here at St Lukes hope all is well with Mr. Sights and he has a full recovery. We are proud of what we did to save him.

Here is what a Mexican doctor living and working in Cabo San Lucas had to say about all this:

I also live here in Cabo and work as a doctor, first of all, I have to say that Mario and his associates are crooks, they always do the same thing with patients. He is only looking for money and his hospital is not even finished, not to mention how he handles payments to doctors. While he collects the patients money, he pays doctors 3 months later and sometimes half of what he charged. For example, if a doctor does a procedure on a patient, the doctor charges 5, he modifies it to 10 and then pays The doctor 5 minus 20% of commission.

On The other hand you have to understand that If you do not charge some patients up front, then patients are discharged and you never hear from them again and never get paid, i can tell you I have that happened many times to me.

The problem here was that the hospital did not deal with The insurance company from the start, again, that is because the hospital and their managers always want the money right away, which is not right I know, since insurance companies take like a month or so to pay the hospital. The patient is not to blame for this and he or she does not even know that.

Bottom line, don’t go there. Their way of working and their staff are very unprofessional and not well qualified, most of their staff have been working and fired from other hospitals in the area, trust me I know that.

Share

Death on the Border

LEY GENERAL DE POBLACIÓN – Artículo 11: El tránsito internacional de personas por puertos, aeropuertos y fronteras, sólo podrá efectuarse por los lugares designados para ello y dentro del horario establecido, con la intervención de las autoridades migratorias.

Artículo 78: Las personas que pretendan emigrar del país, están obligadas a satisfacer, además de los requisitos generales de migración, los siguientes:

III. La comprobación, si se trata de mexicanos, de que pueden cumplir todos los requisitos que para entrar al país a donde se dirijan exijan las leyes del mismo, según el carácter con que pretendan hacerlo

MEXICAN GENERAL POPULATION LAW – Article 11 – The international movement of persons through ports, airports and borders can only be carried out in locations so designated and on the established schedule, with the participation of immigration authorities.

Article 78: – Those persons who intend to emigrate from the country are obligated to satisfy, in addition to the general requirements of immigration, the following:

III. Evidence, if they are Mexican citizens, that they can meet all the legal requirements to enter the country of their intended destination according to their intended immigration status.

Mexico’s law on movement of people across its borders is very clear. A person may only enter or exit via a designated port of entry and this must be done in compliance with Mexican immigration authorities. A Mexican must also meet all the immigration requirements of the destination country in order to legally leave Mexico. Yet each year, the United States deports several hundred thousand illegal immigrants back to their native Mexico, and not one of them is ever charged with violating Mexico’s law by failing to depart Mexico via a port of entry and with the necessary visas.

On June 21, 2011, a rock throwing incident on the San Diego-Tijuana border ended with a Border Patrol agent shooting to death 40-year-old Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes. Before he was killed, Yañez allegedly flung rocks and a nail-studded board that struck one agent, who required hospitalization.

The Mexican newspapers reported that three Mexicans were involved in the incident. One was arrested by Border Patrol agents, one managed to return to Mexico “safe and sound,” as reported in the Tijuana newspapers, and Yañez was shot in the left eye while atop the steel border fence with a chunk of concrete in his hand.

Why wasn’t the man who returned to Mexico “safe and sound” arrested by Mexican police for violation of Articles 11 and 78? Why are the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans deported back to Mexico each year not charged?

The answer lies in the differences between how Americans and Mexicans view immigration and laws.

Americans mainly view immigration as a legal issue: either one has permission to enter the United States, or one does not. There is no middle ground. However, Mexicans tend to view immigration as a human rights issue. They believe humans have the right to go where the work is, where the money is, where the social benefits are.

As to laws, most Americans view things in black or white: either it is legal or it is illegal. In Mexico, laws are viewed more as idealized guidelines for behavior. Moreover, in Mexico laws are profit centers for corrupt police, bureaucrats and politicians. Problems with the law are fixed with bribes – morditas. The more laws Mexico passes, the more profit centers are created for those who enforce those laws.

Back to Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes, the father of three whose wife lives in Ensenada. His wife told the newspapers that he was a construction worker who spent two weeks each month working in Tijuana. However the Tijuana newspapers did their own investigation, talking to Yañez’ parents. They reported that Yañez was a shiftless drug addict, who occasional helped to strip stolen cars. He walked out on his wife and children and was living in Tijuana with an 18-year old woman who was 5 months pregnant with his child.

As is the norm in these situations, Mexican politicians are clamoring for an investigation into the shooting of Yañez. One bureaucrat is even calling for the extradition to Mexico of the Border Patrol agent who shot Yañez to stand trial for murder. However, as is typical with Mexican politicians where pandering to the electorate is an art form, they have few facts.

The fence that Yañez was on is entirely within the territory of the United States. The US built it a few feet inside the border. You don’t really think that Mexico would erect a fence to prevent its population from emmigrating illegally to the United States? So, Yañez was entirely within United States territory when he threw sticks and rocks at Border Patrol agents. He was shot while in US territory. He just happened to drop dead inside Mexico.

Share

Baja State Secretary of Security Admits Murders Are Increasing

Translated by Fulano from an article in El Sol de Tijuana.

Tijuana – Although he recognizes that there has been an increase in crime, the Baja California State Secretary of Security, Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, denies that the work of authorities has been lax.

This is because from January through June of 2013 crime has increased over the same period in 2012, and businessmen are showing concern over kidnappings.

Daniel de la Rosa blamed the increase on the arrival of people, not criminal groups, from other states in Mexico who are trying to take over the vacancies left by arrests.

“We are seeing some murders that are being generated from what they call a cleaning out, because they are trying to grab some area,” he said.

He added that in the case of the kidnappings, their work has produced results, with the arrest of some of those responsible who could also be involved with similar cases.

“Without minimizing any legitimate need, we need to set in the proper perspective what is going on, and here it is groups, or persons, who come from other states, such as Michoacán, Nayarit, and in some cases Jalisco,” he said.

The head of state security suggested that the seizures and arrest will continue.

“Up to the last day of this administration of Governor Osuna Millán, we are not going to allow any form of takeover by any criminal group, not in Tijuana nor the remainder of the state,” he said.

Share

Tijuana police dogs live better than the average Mexican

Translated by Fulano from an article in EL MEXICANO.

TIJUANA – The 14 Belgian Shepards that make up the Canine Unit of the Municpal Police will consume 300,000 pesos (US$25,000) in food in the next six months, which means that each dog will cost 21,400 pesos (US$1,785) for the remainder of the current administration. This represents an expenditure of almost 900 pesos (US$75) per week for each dog.

That amount is in contrast to what households spend on food, which in some cases does not exceed 300 pesos (US$25) per week, due to the meager salaries earned.

According to the fiscal budget for 2013, which was approved by the city council, they are asking for 300,000 pesos (US$25,000) for the “purchase of food for the dogs in the Canine Unit,” without specifying how many dogs there are.

Councilman Eduardo Enrique Parra Romero, president of the Public Safety Commission, said that there are 14 Belgian Shepards, which require an appropriate diet to maintain a high state of readiness.

“The food has to be balanced specially for these type of animals, as well as their care and training, the preparation is very different for the functions they perform,” he said.

He confirmed that from the demonstrations performed by the Canine Unit, they are being prepared to help in rescuing people and detecting banned substances.

According to a survey by EL MEXICANO of mothers of households around Morelos Park, their weekly expenditures vary between 300 and 1,000 pesos (US$25 and $85), but this to feed up to five people.

That means that with what the police department spends on food for one Belgian Shepard, a family of five can survive for the same period.

Share