The Murder of Adriana Coronado and her father
I wasn't surprised or shocked when Adriana Coronado, the 14 year old girl, who captured headlines for a few days, after her disappearance, which occurred after her father was found shot multiple times, and set on fire, was found dead. I was struck with a gnawing sense of certainty, as I read she had been tossed in a field, casually, still wearing her pajamas and slippers. A familiar feeling of hopelessness and nausea as I read, and see, the carnage all around us, on both sides of the border.
In the past, I have written about killings on the US side of the border, that drew similarities or relation to killings in Mexico, the most recent ones I can recall, did not have any direct connections to cartels, or cells, or clicks in Tijuana, or elsewhere. The parallels and common themes were enough for me to feel that I needed to share what I had read, or what I felt. Here, is no different. But, we have these facts, and we can mourn Adriana, and her father, and take an educated guess at what happened.
Adriana Coronado was last seen alive at around 1:00 AM early Sunday, 13th of March. She was said to be with her father, Caesar Vladimir Coronado, in her neighborhood of Katy, Texas, outside of Houston. Caesar Coronado was found in Walker County, 60 miles away, smoldering, and shot multiple times. His truck, an F150 crew cab was found about 45 miles south, of where he was killed. Investigators believe Adriana witnessed her fathers killing. The vehicle was set on fire, and abandoned, about 10:20 on the 13th.
The video shows the truck bursting into flames, and the man running down an alley. Investigators believe he was picked up by another man in a dark colored SUV. The fact that he burned the vehicle he arrived in, suggests an accomplice, or conspiracy. Adriana was found the following Friday, in West Houston, Harris County, her body abandoned in a field. She was killed by multiple gunshots.
The mother, gave a statement from Mexico, where she was said to be recovering from surgery, before Adriana was found. She said that her husband worked as a carpenter, and she could think of no enemies he may have had. If he did have enemies, she knew nothing about it. She asked for the safe return of her daughter.
No motive has been released, and there is nothing but speculation, linking Caesar Coronado to drug trafficking or organized crime, but there is enough to suggest a link to his murder, as well as his daughters. The crime scenes, and causes of death suggest targeted killings, the multiple gunshots suggest an execution style killing, not a crime of passion, or domestic violence related crime.
The subsequent burning of the body to destroy evidence, as well as the burning of the victims truck, suggest concealing a pre-mediated crime, not a robbery, as the truck was burned, rather then sold, or taken across the border. Also, as noted, the accomplice suggests a group enterprise organized crime killing. The burning of the body and car are trade-craft, learned or taught methods of concealment.
The killing of Adriana, brutal as it is, shows no sign of a personal crime, robbery, child abduction, or a sexual assault gone wrong. It is a straight execution killing, multiple gun shots, and coldly left in a field, where temperatures likely reach freezing at night. She was likely killed as she was a material witness to her fathers killing and kidnapping. Everything seems to indicate a targeted execution type killing, which brings us to Houston, Texas, where Los Zetas and elements of the Gulf Cartel are the main faces of drug trafficking.
It's possible that Caesar Coronado was aligned with a rival group, or owed money, or had been accused of being a cooperator, though that is pure speculation. Another killing, which is wrenching and horrific, all the more so, as it happened in the US, whereas in places like Juarez and Iguala, this is a sickeningly common occurrence.
* Video of person of interest leaving the scene of the incinerated truck
Sources: Houston Chronicle, Washington Post, CNN