On December 3, 1996,
Yolanda Figueroa, a prominent Mexican journalist, her husband and three
children were found brutally beaten to death in their home in Mexico
Yolanda had been
very outspoken about the alleged ties between the government and
powerful Mexican drug lords therefore authorities assumed that the
family had been a victim of a narco hit.
The lone survivor of the massacre, the family driver,
was left in critical condition by the assailants. However, when
Alejandro Perez de la Rosa -- the driver -- regained consciousness he
told a wild tale of sex, revenge and murder rivaling anything a
Hollywood writer could concoct. The murders of Yolanda Figueroa, her
husband, Fernando Balderas -- former anti-drug agent -- and their three
children, had nothing to do with the drug cartels and were, in fact, a
simple act of revenge.
According to de la Rosa, Fernando Balderas became a
sexual monster following the success of his and his wife's muckraking
book on the narco lord Juan Garcia Abrego. For months following the
release of the book Fernando sexually abused two maids within their
stately home in Mexico City's tony Pedregal district.
Balderas, publisher of the weekly scandal sheet Cuarto
Poder (Fourth Estate), had been under investigation for alleged links to
drug traffickers. Arrest warrants had also been issued in the past but
never served for rape, and for trying to extort account holders of a
bank. During an investigation, police also reported discovering
possessions such as expensive cars that would seem beyond the family's
With no hope for justice, the two family chauffeurs
and one of the victimized maids decided to kill the torturing couple. On
the fateful night of the murders, the suspects only intended to kill the
parents, but went blood simple and killed the children too. After, the
two men argued over cash and jewelry they found inside the home. Martin
and Josefina, who both share the last name of hernandez but are
unrelated, attacked their accomplice Alejandro and left him for dead.
On May 15, 1998, one of the lethal chauffeurs,
Alejandro Perez de la Rosa, was sentenced to 118 years in prison for the
grisly murder binge. Judge Jose Eligio Rodriguez Alba said the 118-year
sentence was a symbolic gesture because of the brutality of the crime,
even though Mexican law allows only a 50-year sentence. As of this
report, his two other accomplices Martin and Josefina remain at large.
Details Emerge in Slaying of Mexico
Crime: Author, husband and children were killed by
servants avenging sexual abuse, prosecutors say
By Mark Fineman - Los Angeles Times
December 25, 1996
MEXICO CITY — In the months that writer Yolanda
Figueroa and her husband, Fernando Balderas, basked in prominence after
the August release of their book on a powerful Mexican drug cartel,
there were darker forces at work far closer to the couple's posh home
here, prosecutors say.
Indeed, it was about when the couple launched the
campaign to sell their muckraking expose on Gulf cartel boss Juan Garcia
Abrego that investigators now say Balderas had also turned the family's
maids into "sexual hostages."
Behind the walls of the couple's home in the stately
Pedregal district of the capital, Balderas, a former investigator for
the Mexico City prosecutor's office, had been sexually abusing the two
servants for months, authorities say.
In September, he was quietly charged with rape. But
for reasons authorities still cannot explain, he was never arrested.
And as the couple's book was selling out in
bookstores nationwide, Balderas' behavior at home was raising the fury
of the maids' husbands, who worked as the family's drivers.
Finally, on Dec. 2, the drivers and one of the maids
plotted the murders of the couple, investigators say.
Three days later, at 1:30 a.m., they carried out the
killings in brutal fashion: One by one, they beat to death Figueroa,
Balderas and their three children as they slept in their beds,
investigators say. The suspects then allegedly argued over the family's
cash and jewelry.
As police searched Tuesday for one of the family
drivers and his maidservant wife, authorities here declared the
scandalous case all but closed, alleging that the fugitive couple and
another driver now in custody murdered Balderas, Figueroa and their
children for revenge.
"The motive for the murders was personal shame," said
Mariano Herran Salvatti, Mexico City's deputy attorney general, who
unveiled the results of an intensive, two-week investigation at a news
conference here late Monday. "Fernando Balderas raped [the two maids]
while holding both women sexual hostages."
The results of the investigation shot holes in the
theories of several analysts here, who had initially likened the
slayings of the writer and her investigator husband--both of whom had
been cast by some as anti-drug crusaders--to the lawlessness spawned by
the drug trade in Colombia. These analysts had theorized that the
killings were attributable in some way to Figueroa's book.
Photo: Carlos Cisneros