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.

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