Things That Matter

The 3-Year-Old Girl Who Survived Her Father’s Pembroke Pines Massacre Finds Family

On a tragic evening in August, three-year-old Adriana Colon played the most frightening game of hide-and-seek in her short life. Enraged by claims that his wife, Sandra, had been having an affair, Pablo Colon Jr. began a gun-fueled rampage through their home in the Grand Palms Golf and Country Club neighborhood of Pembroke Pines, Florida, a gated community described by neighbors as “quiet.” Meanwhile, Adriana remained still, tucked under a blanket as her father murdered her mother, grandmother, and twin sister, all before turning one of two handguns on himself.

At the time of the massacre, the Colons had been renting their home in Pembroke Pines for just six months. Pablo and Sandra had met 10 years earlier, and after giving birth to their twin girls, opted to move from Fort Lauderdale in search of more space for their growing family. Sandra’s mother, Olga Alvarez, had moved in with them a few months prior to the events of August 25. It was Alvarez who made the original 911 call, an urgent plea to the local authorities punctuated by desperate cries of terror.

“He’s going to kill her,” she yelled in Spanish.

Colon Family / GoFundMe

At 8:28 p.m. on August 25, Olga Alvarez called the police, frantically shifting between Spanish and English in an attempt to seek help. After telling the operator that “he’s going to kill [Sandra],” she yelled, “Don’t! Don’t!” And then the call went silent.

Moments later, Alvarez told the operator, “La mató.” Pablo Colon had murdered his wife, and Alvarez knew she would be next.

Several moments passed before Alvarez asserted that Pablo “was going to hurt her.” Sobbing into the phone, she urged, “Quick—save the children.” After the line went silent again, Pablo Colon’s voice appeared, cursing at Alvarez in Spanish. Alvarez insisted, “I didn’t know, I didn’t know!” To which Pablo Colon replied: “Now you die—right?”

As this all unfolded, Pablo Colon spoke with his cousin, Cesar De La Hoz, about what he had done.

PCA Electrical Services, Inc.

At 8:49 p.m., the wife of Cesar De La Hoz called 911 after De La Hoz had spoken to Colon directly. 

“He said he killed his wife and the two kids,” she told the operator, while De La Hoz was heard speaking again to Colon in the background. Through tears, De La Hoz’s wife then told the dispatcher of Colon’s plan to commit suicide. 

On that same 911 call, De La Hoz was heard trying to persuade his cousin not to harm himself. “Just put the gun away,” he insisted. “Listen to me, primo. It’s not over.” After hanging up with Colon, De La Hoz hurried to the family’s house in Pembroke Pines, arriving at the same time as a police officer.

De La Hoz attempted once more to reach his cousin, encouraging him to surrender to the police. Colon was frantic and inconsolable, and after multiple attempts to calm him down, he told De La Hoz, “Goodbye,” then hung up the phone.

Three hours after the initial 911 call, SWAT officers entered the Colon residence. 

Miami Herald

On the second floor, at the foot of the staircase, they found one of Colon’s twin daughters, shot dead in her pajamas. In the adjacent master bedroom, Colon lay dead, facedown on the floor with a pistol in his hand. The bodies of Sandra Colon and Olga Alvarez were there, as well, and both had suffered fatal gunshots to the head.

While the SWAT team investigated the upstairs scene, another officer searched the ground floor. Live ammunition rounds from a black 9 mm Luger pistol and a .380 Smith & Wesson pistol were scattered all over the floor. When the officer noticed a blanket under the kitchen table, he pulled it back to reveal the other twin girl, Adriana. She was alive.

Two days after the attack, numerous relatives appeared in court for Adriana’s custody hearing. A judge ruled that she would stay with family, and she is currently in the process of being formally adopted. 

Dominique Pinzon / GoFundMe

Pablo Colon’s cousin, Dominique Pinzon, said that the events of August 25 came as a horrible surprise to the entire family. Relatives knew that the couple had issues to work on—as any marriage does—but they never suspected such a violent outcome was possible. Pinzon asserts that different members of the family are grieving in their own way, but everyone is focused on reminding Adriana that she is loved and making her feel safe.

“She’s in the best hands, and she’s going to be loved and cared for for the rest of her life,” said Pinzon to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Currently, Adriana is seeing a grief counselor and enjoying time with family. Pinzon has set up a GoFundMe page to support Adriana’s future.

Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

Things That Matter

Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

John Piekos / Flickr

Hackers attempted to steal $4 million from the Puerto Rican government using a common phishing scam. The scams referred to as business email compromises, target public and private entities every year on the U.S. mainland. Here’s what we know so far.

A hacker attempted to steal millions of dollars from the Puerto Rican government.

Credit: @DavidBegnaud / Twitter

According to reports, hackers were able to infiltrate various agencies in the Puerto Rican government through phishing emails. The hackers attempted to access $4 million dollars by targeting Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company and the Tourism Company.

The Industrial Development Company sent around $2.6 million while the Tourism Company wired over $1.5 million. According to the AP, the agencies received emails from a fraudulent employee claiming there was a change of bank accounts.

Federal officials say they were about to freeze the money to prevent loss to Puerto Rico.

David Begnaud of CBS News took to Twitter to update people on the latest developments. According to Begnaud’s conversation with federal authorities, the hackers had not received the money from Puerto Rico and they were able to freeze it. They are working to send the money back to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is not the only victim in a phishing crime. During the same time as the hacking of Puerto Rico, a school district in Manor, Texas lost $2.3 million and another $800,000 were stolen from officials in Griffin, Georgia. More than 23,000 of these scams stole $1.7 billion from businesses and agencies in the U.S. mainland last year. The FBI was able to recover around $300 million.

The news is surprising people on social media.

Credit: @MilagsCon / Twitter

Corruption in Puerto Rico’s government has been a topic of discussion since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Puerto Rico was recently devastated by a series of earthquakes while still recovering from the 2017 hurricane that devastated the island. Missing relief funds and misplaced supplies have angered Puerto Ricans in recent months as it comes to light.

This latest financial and security shortcoming of Puerto Rico’s government is not helping its reputation.

Credit: @J_Fort47 / Twitter

Puerto Ricans have been showing their displeasure with the elected officials on the island for years. Recently, Puerto Ricans protested and marched until Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his office. The former governor was caught in a group chat scandal in which he made derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community and women. There were also allegations of corruption and misuse of funds within his admi9nistration that led to a series of investigations.

READ: The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

Things That Matter

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.