(14) - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder:
Date of arrest:
Date of birth: 1990
Victim profile: Marina Estefani
Method of murder:
Strangled and her throat was cut
Location: Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to two life terms in prison on October 20,
S. Fla. Teen Guilty Of Raping,
October 21, 2009
South Florida jurors have rejected an insanity
plea from a teen accused of raping and killing his younger sister in
After two hours of deliberations Tuesday, a Miami-Dade
jury found 19-year-old Ronald Eric Salazar guilty of first-degree murder
and sexual battery.
Prosecutors said that Salazar, at age 14, was
methodical when he raped and strangled his 11-year-old sister, slit her
throat and then covered her body in a Winnie the Pooh comforter.
Salazar's defense attorney had said Salazar was
driven insane by parents who abandoned him to poverty for more than a
decade in his native El Salvador, then smuggled him to Miami where he
felt unloved by his family.
Immediately following Salazar's conviction, the judge
sentenced the teen to two life terms.
Teen Admits On Tape To Sister's
Brother Accused Of Raping, Killing 11-Year-Old
October 16, 2009
The lead detective in a case involving a teenager charged
with raping and killing his younger sister testified in a Miami
courtroom, detailing how the then-14-year-old confessed to the
Ronald Eric Salazar, now 19, faces charges of first-degree
murder and sexual battery on a minor, his 11-year-old sister, Marina.
Salazar was 14 in July 2005 when police said he beat,
raped and slit the throat of Marina Salazar with a kitchen knife.
"She started to struggle. She was trying to get away,
and she wasn't able to break free of him. Eventually, she stopped moving,"
said Detective Chris Stroze of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Police said the killing was sparked by an argument in
the siblings' South Miami Heights home. Detectives found the girl's
lifeless body in her bedroom, where Ronald Salazar claimed he saw two
intruders who committed the crime.
But his story changed, and investigators said Ronald
Salazar eventually confessed.
In his taped confession, Ronald Salazar was asked by
an investigator, What did you decide you would do with your sister?
"Kill her," Ronald Salazar said.
On Friday, Ronald Salazar's tearful mother took the
stand for his defense as he looked on.
The defense said Ronald Salazar was insane at the
time of the killing. Attorneys plan to bring in mental health experts to
Slain girl's brother sent to mental
charged in the death of his 11-year-old sister was taken to a
psychiatric hospital for an evaluation.
- Miami Herald
Thu, Jul. 28, 2005
Ronald E. Salazar was committed to a psychiatric
hospital for treatment Tuesday night, one day after he was charged
with murdering his 11-year-old sister.
Salazar, 14, was being held in secure detention at
the Miami juvenile lockup, following a brief court hearing Tuesday
before Circuit Judge Lester Langer. The judge instructed Department of
Juvenile Justice officers to keep the youth under ''close observation''
to prevent a possible suicide attempt.
Later that night, officers at the lockup took Ronald
under the state's involuntary commitment law, called the Baker Act, to a
Miami mental health facility for an evaluation, a source told The Herald
Wednesday. The boy had become disruptive and ''out of control'' at the
lockup, sources said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bush declined comment on the state's
handling of the case Wednesday.
He sent his condolences to the family.
On Monday, Miami-Dade police arrested Salazar at his
parents' South Miami Heights home on first-degree murder charges. Police
said he confessed that he choked his 11-year-old sister, Marina Estefani
Salazar, and slit her throat.
The killing occurred 10 days after a Department of
Children & Families investigator closed their probe into reports that
Ronald Salazar had threatened to kill members of his own family. DCF
deemed Salazar a ''low'' risk, sources familiar with the case told the
Herald. The family also confirmed that investigators told them Salazar's
behavior was nothing but normal rebellion.
Salazar's parents contend they tried several times
without success to convince caseworkers and doctors that he had
threatened them and had become increasingly violent in recent months. In
closing the case, state child welfare authorities handed the family a
brochure about private counseling services.
In June, while the family was under investigation, a
paid consultant warned the state Department of Children and Families
that they were leaving children in harm's way by recommending services
but failing to follow up on their well-being.
Asked about DCF's handling of the case by reporters
Wednesday, Gov. Jeb Bush declined comment, citing the confidentiality of
''What a tragedy, and, for the family, my heart goes
out to them,'' Bush said.
Bush said state officials ''can't access'' DCF's
files on the investigation into the Salazar case, therefore preventing
his office from evaluating the agency's performance.
''By law, for good reason, this information is
confidential,'' Bush said.
The governor expressed dismay that some of the
details of the case had been detailed in the Herald.
''Someone may have leaked this information, and if
they did, it's against the law,'' Bush said.
Brother, 14, charged with killing
A 14-year-old in Miami-Dade
confessed to killing his 11-year-old sister while his parents were out,
according to police.
Tue, Jul. 26, 2005
Miami-Dade police charged a 14-year-old South
Miami Heights boy with the murder of his 11-year-old sister Monday,
apparently after the two argued. The killing came just 10 days after
the Department of Children and Families closed its investigation
into a report that 14-year-old Ronald Eric Salazar had threatened to
kill his entire family.
Ronald initially told detectives Monday morning that
two men broke into his home and tried to rob the family, police said. He
later confessed that he had killed his sister, Miami-Dade police
spokeswoman Mary Walters said.
Marina Salazar's body was found a little after 8 a.m.
Monday in a pool of blood in her bedroom at 11945 SW 173rd Ter. in South
Miami Heights. She apparently had been strangled and her throat was cut,
police said. Investigators were awaiting autopsy results.
Ronald, who will be 15 in September, was charged with
On May 17, DCF's abuse hot line received a call about
the family. A caller, whom The Herald could not identify, claimed that
Ronald's father had been physically and verbally abusing the teen.
''As a result of the verbal abuse, Ronald has been
very depressed and two weeks ago he tried to kill himself by putting a
knife up to his chest,'' the caller said.
The report said the father had been hitting Ronald
with a belt and ``with his hands. . . . The father will come up behind
Ronald and slap him.''
The boy told an investigator ''he didn't care if he
lives or he dies.'' A sister told a caseworker Ronald ``marked up her
neck by holding her down and choking her.''
''The child stated Ronald gets mad a lot, slams doors
and hits people,'' a report says.
When Ronald became violent, the sister said, ''the
family will normally start to pray.'' Even Ronald's parents were afraid
of the boy, the report said.
In an interview July 13, Ronald's father told DCF
Ronald said ''he will come back to the home and kill all of them'' if
the state sent him to a residential program.
A DCF caseworker called police to report the family's
fears and Ronald was committed to a locked psychiatric hospital for
treatment that day. But a psychiatrist ruled he was not suicidal, and
released him back to his parents.
Caseworkers closed their investigation of the Salazar
family two days later, concluding that the children were not in harm's
way. ''At this time, the risk of harm to the children is low,'' the
Caseworkers did refer the Salazars to a private
agency for voluntary services, but the family didn't keep an appointment
with a counselor.
Flora Beal, DCF's Miami spokeswoman, declined to
discuss the case Monday, citing privacy laws.
'VERY TRAGIC CASE'
''This is a very tragic case of sibling-on-sibling
violence. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family during this
troubling time,'' Beal said.
On Monday morning, the children's father, Samuel
Salazar, left Ronald home alone with Marina and their 8-year-old brother
while he took his 12-year-old daughter to school. The children's mother
had already left for work, police said.
When Samuel Salazar came home he found Ronald in a
neighbor's yard, police said. The teen had gone to the neighbor's house
to call police after concocting the story about two men breaking into
The teen told his father, ''We've been robbed, we've
been robbed,'' said Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
The parents could not be reached for comment.
By midday, neighbors were questioning Ronald's story.
''It has to be somebody the family knows that did
this,'' said neighbor Sandra Morris. "It can't be a stranger.''
School officials were distraught to learn they lost
such an apparently happy student.
''Marina was an exceptional little girl,'' said Lola
Johnson, who was the girl's fifth-grade teacher last year at Miami
Heights Elementary. "She was just a flower, she was just lovely.''
In most ways, she was a typically loveable fifth-grader:
she wrote poetry about nature and read stories.
But she never mentioned her siblings. ''She never
talked about them,'' Johnson said.
Police: 14-Year-Old Boy Confesses
To Killing Sister
Teen Charged With First-Degree Murder
July 26, 2005
MIAMI -- A 14-year-old boy
who had recently been committed to a psychiatric hospital killed his 11-year-old
sister in her bedroom, police said.
Ronald Eric Salazar initially told his father and
investigators that two men broke into his home and tried to rob the
family, but later confessed that he had killed his sister, Miami-Dade
police spokeswoman Mary Walters said.
Ronald was charged Monday with first-degree murder. A judge Tuesday
ordered him held without bond until an Aug. 30 hearing.
Marina Salazar's body was found shortly after 8 a.m. in a pool of
blood in her South Miami Heights bedroom. She apparently had been
strangled and her throat was cut, police said.
The children had been left alone in the house, police said. When
Samuel Salazar returned after taking another daughter to school, he
found Ronald outside a neighbor's house, where the teen had called
authorities with his story about a robbery, police said.
Samuel Salazar said he didn't believe his son's story.
"I told the police, 'Grab my son. Don't let him go. It hurts me in
my heart. Grab him,'" he said.
Police said Ronald had been committed to a psychiatric hospital less
than a month ago, after a Department of Children & Families caseworker
reported his father's fear that Ronald would "come back to the home and
kill all of them" if he was sent to a residential program.
A psychiatrist ruled that Ronald was not suicidal, and the teen was
released back to his parents.
Samuel Salazar said his son has mental problems stemming from when
the family lived in El Salvador during a war and also from drug abuse.
Flora Beal, DCF's Miami spokeswoman, declined to discuss the case,
citing privacy laws.
Boy Charged In 11-Year-Old Sister's
14-Year-Old Charged With First-Degree Murder
July 25, 2005
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. -- A
14-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of his 11-year-old
Police arrested the Ronald Salazar after they say he
confessed to the killing.
Investigators said Marina Salazar was at home with her brother
Monday morning while their father took another child to school. Their
mother had already left for work, according to police.
Initially, Ronald Salazar told police that he saw two black men run
out of the house that is located at 11945 SW 173 Terrace in the South
Miami Heights area. He said he went into his sister's room and saw blood
everywhere, and then ran to a neighbor's house for help.
Police said Marina Salazar had been strangled and her throat was cut.
From early in the day, it appeared to Local 10 reporter Rad Berky
that police were not looking for the two men the boy described. Police
did not give the media any descriptions of the alleged attackers or of a
getaway car. There also did not appear to be a major search going on in
the area. Berky said there were no police dogs brought in and no police
helicopters in the air, which he said one would normally expect.
Marina Salazar's classmates at Miami Heights Elementary described
her as popular and caring. Everyone who spoke to Local 10 said that she
was an exceptionally nice girl.
Police told Local 10 that just two weeks ago, Ronald Salazar was
admitted to a hospital for psychological evaluation under Florida's
Baker Act. He was committed after a Department of Children and Families
caseworker reported his father's fear that Ronald would "come back to
the home and kill all of them" if he was sent to a residential program.
Ronald Salazar was released back to his parents after a psychiatrist
ruled that Ronald was not suicidal.
He is charged with first-degree murder.
THE STORY SO FAR
Wed, Jul. 27, 2005
May 17: The
state Department of Children & Families (DCF) receives a report that
Samuel Salazar was verbally and physically abusing his son, Ronald. The
report also indicated that Ronald was abusing one of his sisters and had
threatened to kill himself. DCF opens investigation.
June 2005: State-paid
consultant warns Miami child-welfare administrators they are leaving
children in harm's way when they end investigations by handing out
brochures for services and failing to follow up with families.
July 13: A state
social worker visits the Salazar home. Ronald is committed to a hospital
for an evaluation after he allegedly admits he has a knife under his
pillow and threatens to kill a social worker, sources tell The Herald.
The hospital releases Ronald after about four hours, deeming him ''healthy,''
according to the family.
July 15: DCF
officials close their probe, concluding Ronald is not a threat to his
siblings. Caseworkers recommended the family take Ronald for voluntary
counseling, which the Salazars say they were trying to arrange.
July 25: Ronald
tells police he choked his sister, Marina, and slit her throat. He is
arrested on charges of first-degree murder.
July 26: Circuit
Judge Lester Langer orders Ronald detained for 30 days in a juvenile
lockup while prosecutors seek an indictment from a grand jury. Assistant
State Attorney Shana Belyeu said the state is considering charging the
youth in adult court. The judge orders the youth to be under ''close
observation'' -- or suicide watch. Langer said the measures were
necessary "to protect this young man in the event he goes into crisis.''