The names of Jon Benet Ramsey and Natalie Holloway are familiar to most people that watch television news or read internet/newspaper clippings. They are among two of the highest profile cold cases that received national exposure when they first occurred and still continue to do so. One was a five year-old beauty pageant contestant found murdered in her own home. The other, a recent high school graduate celebrating her high school graduation with friends on the island of Aruba.
But how about the names of Nelida DeJesus DelValle, Bianca Lebron or Rosa Camacho?
Their names may not be as well known, because for years, cases of disappearances or homicides that involved young (non-hispanic) white females historically received more press coverage and law enforcement that those of others.
But slowly, but surely, this might be changing. Two cases recently involving Hispanic teenagers have received much attention locally, as well as nationally. This may signal a trend that in some instances, that homicides and missing person cases involving
Hispanic children may get equal coverage and attention.
In New York City, massive searches involving police and volunteers have been desperately trying to find missing 14 year old Avonte Oquendo. Oquendo, who is severely autistic, wandered away from his school in the middle of October of this year and has not been seen since. He is non-verbal and is not capable of taking care of himself and his family fears that if he is not found, he will die. The New York newspapers and television stations have covered his story extensively and the national media outlets have also taken on his case. But, as time goes by hope is fading for a successful recovery for him as well as for that of a missing New Hampshire teenager, Abigail Hernandez.
On October 9th 2013, fourteen year-old Abigail Hernandez was last seen walking Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire at 2:30 that Wednesday afternoon. The olive complexioned, brown haired and brown eyed girl, remains missing and a massive land search continues underway. Posters with her face and information have occupied many of the windows of storefronts in shadows of the Mount Washington Valley. Her case has been a major news story on all the local news stations and newspapers. There has even been a segment on her case on the CNN show “Nancy Grace”, police however are not sure if the popular teenager ran away or is a victim of foul play. The media coverage that both the Oquendo and Hernandez cases have received, may signal a sign of progress in treating all missing and homicides case equally.
There are still many other unsolved criminal cases involving Hispanic victims that did not get the attention from the media they deserved when they occurred and are now considered cold cases. To their families, they are more than that, in many cases they are looking answers and justice.
In Connecticut and Massachusetts, Marlon Santos, Nelida DeJesus DeValle, Bianca Lebron and Rosa Camacho are children that remain missing and are considered by law enforcement authorities as likely victims of homicide.
They are all considered cold cases, and could remain unsolved as witnesses die or evidence gets lost. But some hope remains for their families that with the passage of time, new public attention on the cases and new tools developed can finally solve some of these cases. DNA testing for example has resulted in thousands of old cases being solved and in other situations, new witnesses have come forward, remembering a bit a critical piece of information, or yet an investigation into one case, can help solve another.
During one of the land searches for Abigail Hernandez, part of a human skull was located not far from where she went missing.
Authorities quickly determined that the skull did not belong to the teenage girl, but instead may belong to that of a Joseph Sweeney, who was last seen in the same town in 2006. DNA Tests may eventually solve that case.
Below are several cold cases of Hispanic murder victims and missing persons from the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The public is key in helping to solve these cold cases.
Marlon Santos – A young infant goes missing and his family is viewed suspiciously as being responsible.
Rosa Camacho – Last seen with her biological father, her mother was found a victim of an unsolved homicide.
Nelida Dejesus De Valle – A young girl disappears just blocks from her home on the way to school.
Unidentified Rhode Island Murder victim – A victim of a brutal homicide, police don’t know who he is or who killed him.
Raquel Ramirez – An altercation with an unknown man leads to murder. No on ever arrested.
Jose Rodriguez – A cab driver who is a family man is gunned down. No one ever arrested.
Terry Sutton manages the website www.ctcoldcases.com. It is a site
about cold cases that focuses on Connecticut and the other Northeastern
states in the country.