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Cristina Siekavizza’s story

Escrito el 06 nov 2011
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Guatemala holds its breath, while waiting for Cristina Siekavizza, or her 2 children to finally appear.

On July 8th, the mother of Cristina, a 30 year old mother of 2, started calling numbers, as her daughter had strangely left her waiting for lunch, which was something she wouldn't normally do.

Since Cristina didn't answer the phone, the whole family started worrying in an upscale neighborhood of the capital city of Guatemala.

Cristina's two children (4 and 6) weren't picked up at school either. So as the day went by, it seemed to be more certain: Cristina was missing.

At noon, her husband, Roberto Barreda was contacted by family and teachers from school. As he received the alert, he said that the last time he'd seen Cristina, had been early in the morning, as she left home for an unusual stroll in the park.

Sadly, hours turned into days. And as days went by, and even though no ransom calls were taken, Cristina was thought to have been kidnapped. At least that's what the private investigator who was hired by Roberto's family was saying.

'Connections' seamed to have been preferred, instead of the local police system, even though his, is a family of prominent lawyers.

His father, a Judge of the Court of Appeals, a high court in the Guatemalan judicial system.
His mother, Ofelia de León, a judge too, who in 2005 presided the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice, the country's highest court.

In fact, she was the first woman ever to take that office, and therefore, also presiding the Judicial Organism. His sister, and brother in law, are lawyers as well.


However, as a week went by since Cristina's disappearance, and as the investigator's theory lost credibility, Cristina's family finally contacted the local police and the District Attorney's office, who is in charge of criminal investigation in Guatemala.

Suspicion quickly grew against Roberto and his family. But not as quick as it would have been necessary to stop Roberto from vanishing with their 2 children, reportedly fleeing the country, to Cristina's family's complete agony.


The tragic twist came as Petrona, the in-living maid (who had earlier testified not knowing anything), changed versions, now testifying that it was Roberto, on the night before the disappearance, who killed Cristina at their home, after quarreling for 2 hours.

Cristina cried for help from the balcony, only for neighbors to fail calling the police or to interfere. As he slid her back into the house, Roberto turned the TV up, so as the children who were in the next room, and probably the neighbors didn't hear her calls for help. Petrona declared to have finally seen Cristina's still feet, lying in a pool of blood. A golf club, seems to have been used.

Roberto had beaten Cristina to death for more than 40 minutes.

As rage grew against Roberto's family, as his mother's influences seem to be helping in his hiding, last week, Petrona's new testimony, led to Roberto's mother, the ex-Supreme Court Justice, to be taken in for questioning.

Petrona then declared that the day after, she had seen Roberto and his mother cleaning the car's blood stained carpets, in their garage.

This humble mayan woman who works for less than 100 pounds a MONTH, was terrified even when in custody, as according to her, Roberto and his mother had threatened killing her and her little nephews, if she said what she had seen.

Sensationally, Roberto's mother was thrown in jail last week, for suspicion of covering up the murder of her daughter in-law, and for interfering with justice, even though this last felony, only applies in guatemala to crimes committed with the assistance of Criminal Organisations.

This has raised the alarm concerning the sort of connections an ex Supreme Justice has in this small Central American country. To this day, Ofelia de Leon, is still imprisoned in the city's women's facility, which she once used to control.

Since the month of July, Cristina's friends and family have organized marches in the city, and in front of the Barreda's home, claiming for justice.
The Facebook page 'Voces por Cristina' (Spanish for: Voices for Cristina) has already reached more than 16,000 fans.

There still seems to be no trace of Roberto, and more importantly of the children. Rumors usually spread fast in these cases. Sightings have been reported in Panama, Spain and even Russia.

On October 20th, it was Maria Mercedes' birthday; the youngest of the two. The day before, was the day when Roberto's mother was arrested at her home.
Police claim to have found presents there, supposedly for Maria Mercedes.
This has now brought hope that not only the children are safe, but also that they might be nearby.

Guatemala holds its breath.
Cristina Siekavizza's friends

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