Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Letting a Sleeping Mystery Lie

I, like many people, love a good mystery. There are some mysteries, like the strange case of the hijacker "D.B. Cooper, which I've posted about before, that I hope will be solved in my lifetime.

Another mystery that piqued my curiousity was the case of Sandra Rosas, the wife of Los Lobos member Cesar Rosas. I remember the news story, in 1999, that she had gone missing while Los Lobos was on tour. Usually, in situations like this, the husband is immediately the suspect. However, since they had an apparently very happy marriage, and he was on tour with his band, nowhere near where she was, he was quickly eliminated as a suspect.

I had loved Los Lobos since first hearing them on college radio in the mid-eighties, and was curious about the case. I wondered if Mrs. Rosas had been kidnapped for ransom, had decided to leave the marriage or had fallen victim to a random crime. I filed the case in the back of my mind, and a few months ago, thought about it and did a little research.

The truth, I discovered, had been unearthed, and was awful.

Mrs. Rosas had apparently discovered that she had been adopted. She became curious about her blood family. She did a little investigating and discovered that she had a half-brother, Gabriel Gomez. She happily cultivated a relationship with her new-found relative.

What she didn't know was that her half-brother was a drunk, a drug addict and a sometimes violent career criminal. She and her husband allowed him to live in a trailer on she and her husband's property, but Gomez quickly wore out his welcome, with erratic, disruptive behavior, and then demanding money from his sister. Finally, she had had enough. She decided to confront him, and tell him that he would have to leave.

When she did so, he quickly turned violent, killing her and burying her body. About a year later, he was convicted of her death, receiving a sentence of life without the possiblity of parole. At the sentencing, the judge suggested that Gomez might help the authorities find the body of Mrs. Rosas and bring the family closure. He told them that he was too intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine to remember the murder and burial, but eventually suggested a location that proved to be wrong. He later suggested another location, 50 miles from where he had first sent investigators, and it was there that they found the remains of Mrs. Rosas.

I was saddened that this mystery had such an unhappy ending, and thought about two things: first, that the old adage that the path to hell is frequently paved with good intentions is quite true. And secondly, that for Mrs. Rosas, the mystery was something that was best left alone.


Cheer34 said...

I like mysteries with happy endings.....I to like Los Lobos but did not know about Mrs Rojas....

most of the books I read are crime mysteries

Churlita said...

That's so sad. I like Los Lobos a lot too.

kirby said...

I remember this story, but had either never heard (or totally forgotten reading about) the adoption part. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the last name is 'Rosas'...and all the members of the band were devastated.

Luz de Mi Vida