Mon 30 Jan 2012
A Guatemalan wife and mother of two, Cristina Siekavizza, went missing July 7. Authorities believe her husband murdered her, and Guatemalan news media have reported the English-speaking husband, Roberto Barreda de León, has probably fled to the United States.
The husband, is believed to have taken the couple’s two children, Roberto Jose, 7, and Maria Mercedes, 4, with him. An international warrant for his arrest has been issued.
I’ve been following the case because my former wife Ana Carolina Monterroso is a friend of Cristina’s relatives. Social media are trying to spread the word internationally about the case. A YouTube site called Voces por Cristina, to which Ana Carolina belongs, now has more than 4,000 followers. A Facebook site called VocesXCristina has 20,000 followers. Here’s Cristina’s uncle Carlos Siekavizza making a plea in Spanish on the YouTube site.
The case was first thought to be a kidnapping, and private investigators were hired by the Barreda de León family, but they may have mainly hidden evidence. After weeks passed without a call from any kidnappers, the Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation.
Police found incriminating evidence against Cristina’s husband, and on Aug. 3, he disappeared, along with the children.
Prosecutor Rony López tells journalists that police have found evidence that an attack occurred in the family’s home. Blood has been found while items one would have expected to find are missing, he said.
The case took a bizarre turn when police jailed Barreda’s mother, Beatriz Ofelia de León, a former president of the Guatemalan Supreme Court, for corruption of justice by also threatening the house worker and obstructing justice.
Because Cristina’s case has come to epitomize violence against women in Guatemala, it has received heavy coverage for months in the Guatemalan press and has sparked protests, such as this march.
Before the disappearances, the family had appeared to be happy.
Cristina’s sister, however, has told the press that Barreda was domineering. Cristina had remained close to her relatives and liked to visit them, the sister said, but Roberto objected that it was a waste of gasoline.
Guatemala is a long way from Point Reyes Station, but this blog has readers around the world. And because the murder suspect and his children may well be in the US by now, this posting is a shot in the dark aimed at catching him.
If you do spot him, please report the sighting to local law enforcement or the FBI office in your area. There is also an email address in Guatemala for reporting Barreda’s whereabouts: email@example.com.