WHEN CRIME KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR
Written by José Alfonso Garcia, Senior Editor
Translated by Rosa de los Santos, Contributor
LAWRENCE: At the end of a year we tend to remember the joyful and positive things that we had lived. We refuse to remember the sad things perhaps for fear of reviving them and opening old wounds that still do not heal. We tend to forget with great ease, and from this natural instinct those who, sometimes without reason may take advantages and become adversaries of our feelings and weaknesses.
I did not want to write about this great tragedy that has saddened us all, in this times of great family celebrations, hope and faith in the future. The untimely death of a young invaluable to our community, Lee Manuel Viloria Paulino only 16 years old, by the gruesome details surrounding his disappearance, appears to be a crime unprecedented in the history of this city.
The tragedy has left desperate and breathless, a whole community that cries for answers, but more deeply, the Viloria Paulino family, especially Ivelisse, Gustavo and Katiuska his beloved grandparent and mother. Sometimes we react indolent to crime. We mistakenly think that it does not exist or that is a thing of others because it has not affected us; But when the tragedy goes out of control and strikes one of our own, then it hurts us, saddens us and breaks our hearts in a thousand pieces.
Ivelisse and Gustavo, beloved and respected teachers already in retirement from our public schools, have been friends and companions of myself for many years. As teachers, we studied together at the University of Salem Massachusetts and suffered the raid of an unexpected and unforeseen adverse system hardened by family commitments, scarce income, and language barriers. We struggle without resting to all this change. We open ourselves and navigated together instilling in our students, not only the academic, but honesty and respect as essential values inherited from our parents, which we brought with us from our native home The Dominican Republic.
Today, let us remain united to the pain that seizes this honorable family of our city and pray for the soul of Lee Manuel to rest in peace. May Ivelisse, Gustavo, Katiuska and the whole family receive from the Most High the divine strength necessary to endure this irreparable loss.
Almost a month after this tragedy the authorities have not eased the anguish of a family that claims justice. Lee Manuel Viloria was missing 17 days under everyone’s noses. Both his family who loved him and the authorities whose responsibility was to move heaven and earth to find him alive, but it did not happen that way. His body appeared mutilated on the bank of the Merrimack River. When his body was found, according to rumors, it was not yet in the process of decomposition, which would indicate to the most inexperienced of the investigators that this young man was assassinated only a couple of days ago. Perhaps he was kidnapped and tortured to blind his existence, for one or perhaps more than one attacker.
Today, almost a month after this mutual bereavement began, there is still much to know about this horrendous case that has shaken the community of Lawrence, in the state of Massachusetts and perhaps by its nature, the American Nation. Neither the community, nor the family, Mayor Dan Rivera, councilors, nor the local police know the circumstances in which this horrible murder took place and that has marked forever the life, the peace, the confidence of a poor community that is hardworking and good honored, a community solidarity with people of great heart.
On December 5, young Mathew Borgers, apparently friend and student companion of the victim, was brought to justice for this crime. The imprisonment of the alleged killer doesn’t resolve this case; there are still many questions without answers:
Why the authorities did not pay any regards to the complaints and denunciations of this family when there was still opportunity to find this young man alive?
Was Lee Manuel Paulino kidnapped before being villainously murdered? Where did they keep him all that time? Did the killer act alone? No one heard or saw anything suspicious among the relatives, friends and neighbors of the perpetrator? Did events or incidents that preceded this tragedy occurred that could lead the authorities to the potential perpetrators?
Remember that, guilty of a crime is not only the one who executes it or the one who plans it; It is also guilty those who can provide valuable information and decides to remain silent, out of fear or complicity. Let us be patient, for there is none else. Let’s hope justice does its job. But let us continue peacefully demanding from the authorities a detailed explanation of the mysteries surrounding this bloody event. Let us speak of this case with great prudence, but let us not be overcome by apathy, complacency and oblivion.
A cry out for justice will not amend the immense pain of Paulino-Viloria’s family, or return the life of this innocent young man, but at least it will leave a feeling of unity, solidarity and support for the family and the community. County Prosecutor Jonathan Blodgett is in charge of the investigation. As a representative of public safety, he knows that this case not only threatens the safety of the people of Lawrence, but of the state. Let’s hope that with the new year our authorities will grant us the best gift: Clarification and credible details on the motive, circumstances and protagonists of this sad and shocking tragedy.