Monday, June 7, 2010

Midnight Slaughter in San Diego

In one of the previous posts, I've mentioned my Genealogical Quest - an attempt to track the saga of my ucrainian/romanian Great Grandmother in America, and find information about her descendants .

It's not an easy task; it takes a lot of time, energy, and feelings. Sometimes you come upon positive things such as one of GG's grandson being a leading legislator in Michigan and his sister a talented singer who has her own radio station; sometimes you come upon personal tragedies such as the untimely deaths of another grandson and his daughter in Miami. And then, you face an unimaginable event of extremely tragic proportions - the slaughter of an entire family by its adopted (at birth) teenager. An event such as the last one devastates you emotionally for weeks ,and greatly delays your work on the project.

It happened in San Diego , California. in the condo of an elderly couple , my GG's grandaughter and her husband. There were six people inside the condo : the elderly couple, their daughter and her three family members ( her husband, their 10-year old girl, and the 16 year old adopted son) on visit from Las Vegas. Five were killed by the sixth one, the adoptee.The murder was planned by the teenager as he was was very angry about being sent to a boarding school for troubled youths in West Los Angeles, away from his parents and sister who lived in Las Vegas. He used a hammer, a kitchen knife and an ax to slay his victims, then he cleaned the murder weapons, took a shower, changed his clothes, set the condominium on fire to cover up the crime, and left.

According to online sources, he was trouble from the beginning, hostile to his adopters and agressive in school. He was an emotionally disturbed child who turned into a vicious, dangerous teenager. There was also slight criticism on the parents in some sources implying that they had put pressure to change the diagnosis from "emotionally disturbed" to "learning disabled", and by doing so they had possibly prevented from him adequate treatment. I find that hard to believe (authorities always look for ways to cover up their action or lack of action), and I don't "buy" the possibility of treatment in this case.

Anyway, I believe the only good thing the parents could have done was to have opened their eyes widely before adopting him, by checking for defective genes inherited from his biological family. It's sad, but people are more careful about buying a car than about adopting a child.

The bitter irony was that my great grandmother had left Romania hoping for a more secure life for her children in the new country. Luckily, she didn't live to witness that mini american -style holocaust of grandaughter and her immediate family. May they all rest in peace!

The photo at the top - "Killer Bean Forever


  1. This is a tragic tale and it must have been horrible for your family members who knew this family. I do have to say that as an adoptive parent...there is no way to check for defective genes in the child you are adopting. Adoptions are more open today than a few years ago, but even so...there is very little you can do other than have the baby checked out medically and hope that the organization you work with to adopt the child gives you the best information that they have.

  2. Oh my goodness what a horrific story! I really do believe that evil exists and I really hate when it uses a child...

  3. Oh my gosh Duta that is so horrible....and you uncovered that doing research about your family? Unreal. My half sister has spent years and years tracing her family tree. She loves it and has learned some really interesting things.

  4. I'm sorry about your family members, Duta. Finding that sort of information can be a shock. I may have said this before, but family history is not for the faint of heart!

  5. I live about 11 hours north of San Diego. Your post doesn't indicate what year this tragedy occured. It is very likely that I heard about this incident. So sad. I'm not sure there is anything that can be done when an individual is that damaged. And it's hard to know how much karma is involved. An entire family gone with one fell swoop.

  6. That is quite a tragic story and sadly all too common. We had a situation in my own community that unfolded a lot like this one.

    I have really enjoyed visiting your blog and enjoyed your writings very much. I will be back to visit again soon.


  7. What a terrible story to have uncovered about your ancestors and I can understand what a shock it must have been.
    As for the very damaged ,adopted child,It is not always evident that mental damage is present in a baby.I am guessing that this episode took place some time ago ?? Medical technology has advanced now and may have shown something wrong with the child,had it been available then.
    I hope this has not put you off continuing your quest for your family history.

  8. Sue (Someone's Mom),

    Thank you for your comment. Coming from you, an adoptive mother - that is precious information.
    Anyway, adopting is a little bit like gambling, but "No risk, No win" as they say.

    The Bug,

    Evil does exist and it strikes unexpectedly. But when a youth is its instrument - that is indeed horrific.


    Genealogy is very interesting and addictive. However, sometimes you come across things that might shock you and badly affect your health.
    Kudos to your half sister for her perseverence!


    It was indeed shocking, and you're perfectly right about " history is not for the faint of heart".

    Ronda Laveen,

    I'm reluctant about revealing names and dates as there are still two living persons close to the tragedy: the sister of the murdered elderly lady, and the twin sister of the younger murdered lady. However, I'll tell you that it happened fourteen years ago.

  9. Oh my...I am speechless. This is too horrible to imagine. How utterly devastating.

  10. What the...? -That's a very sad story. :(
    It must have been a shock for you to read such a thing about your relatives!

    I know it sounds weird, but I would never adopt a child.
    Most of the times these children have drug addicted & mentally unstable parents, so you might never what kind of ticking bomb you might take into your home. :

  11. Debra,

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for leaving your kind comment.
    I suppose it's not an unique case - a youth killing his adoptive family, and that is terrible.


    Maybe technology in this field wasn't so advanced in those days (fourteen years ago); still, they could have done better when checking the background of the baby offered for adoption.

    I hope to keep on searching my great grandmother's saga and descendants. This is something you know when you start, you don't know when you finish.

    Phivos Nicolaides,

    " goes on" - I agree with that. It's the whole truth in one short sentence.

    Janie B,

    Yes, horrible and devastating. I just couldn't function normally after learning about this colossal tragedy.

    Pink Panthress,

    Altough nowadays, there are ways to check the biological and genetic background of the child, still, adopting is a bit like gambling. The adoptee could grow into someone that would ruin the life of the adopters.

  12. I could write a book worth of comments on this post.
    The genealogy surprises, good and bad... "sharing" when I should have kept my mouth shut... telling a minister that the reason his branch of the family refused to give him any information about his grandfather is because he had shot two guys as they came out of church.... actually a very sad story and not at all what it sounds like.

    I almost adopted an older German child while in Germany... but got pregnant instead... glad of it as life turned out.
    I live in a very small town and know four different adoption families... all horror stories!

  13. @eloh ,

    I believe you could, and with great skill and humor.
    Lucky you, getting pregnant and not having to go through that complex and sometimes heart-breaking adoption matter.

  14. Too true! :( That is another reason, too.

  15. I also hope they rest in peace as well. That's the trouble with exploring the past history of one's family one never knows what one is going to find out. Years ago I also had the urge to find out about my family, especially the gypsy side. ( I am quarter gypsy) But no records were ever kept of the Romanies, and I sort of lost interest after that. In a way I wish I had followed through though, and I hope you continue to explore your family history.

  16. Duta, How very sad this is. Evil seems to exist in all of us and that we battle it daily throughout our lives. So very disturbing when it wins especially in the guise of a child. I am an adoptive parent and agree that there is no way to check for bad genes when adopting. It's all you can do to get accurate medical background on the children. I cannot imagine my life without my wonderful sons, one adopted and one born to me. I still believe that goodness and love wins over evil. I'm sorry for your sadness and for the loss of your family. Don't stop looking, I'm sure there are many wonderful tales to be learned ahead of you.

  17. very touchy and emotional story

  18. Pink Panthress,

    Nothing in Life is without risk. To adopt a child is to take one big risk.


    Hello there, gypsy girl! It should be very interesting to research that aspect in your background. When your smallholding reaches its optimal balance, then, by all means, do start your genealogical exploration!

    C Hummwl Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    Thanks for your openness, for disclosing the fact that you're an adoptive parent. This fact adds a special dimension to the story and to our attempt to understand something about this very sensitive matter - adoption.


    Welcome! Thanks for visiting and for leaving your kind comment.

  19. The instrutments he used gave him personal contact with his victems which I think if far more violent than a gun would have been as you distant yourself from the victems. Then to clean the weapons shower and set the house on fire show a very cold and calculating individual. A harden criminal in a boys body. Some people cannot be helped and that is why we should keep the death pentalty. So tragic. This sort of tragedy is never a good read no matter if you are kin or not. Peace be with you.

  20. What a horrible thing to discover, Duta. I'm so sorry for everyone involved.

  21. As always Duta a very interesting though sad story. I know you are aware that I have not been online for almost two months due to Sciatica, but I'm back and I read all the posts you've done since then. Very interesting every one! I especially liked the dolphin post, you sure know a lot about them. I've seen that type of show here in California at San Diego where Seaworld is. And then I read your story about the murder in San Diego. Strange coincidence.

    Thank you so much for all your kind comments during my illness. I really appreciate you taking time to continue visiting. You're a good friend Duta!

  22. Duta, What a sad story! You never know what you will find when researching genealogy. I use alot and alot. I was so excited today I found where someone else had entered information relating to an ancestor who had married a cherokee indian. And there were names of her brothers and sisters, the indian names. I cannot wait until I can research this further. Genealogy can blow you away at times but it is a lot of fun and very addicting. Hoping you find the links you are looking for!
    until next time... nel

  23. Oh Duta, that is so sad. What a tragedy, especially for a family who was obviously trying to give a child a better life.

    I found out that my great great great grandfather was Jesse James (famous American outlaw). My great grandfather looked EXACTLY like him. So it's also strange to find out your family consisted of criminals.

    I also had an ancestor who was a Cherokee indian woman who was named "Sarah Pistol." She was very spunky & carried around a gun & would use it if she had too.

    My dad's side was all from Yugoslavia...wish I could track down more of the family history on the Lemich side (was Lemic until they came to America).

    Thanks for sharing, I guess it prompted me to reflect on my own history!

  24. Lady Di Tn,

    Exactly - " a harden criminal in a boy's body", as you put it. I also agree with your view that "some people cannot be helped..". Sad.


    Welcome back from your vacation! Thank you for your comment.


    Glad you're back to blogging. Thanks a lot for reading my posts, and for your warm words.


    I completely agree with your views on Genealogy. It's indeed very addictive and provides one with lots of fun and interesting things.

    Lisa Petrarca,

    That's very captivating, I mean the info on your ancestors. You should start researching your family's history.

  25. What a terrible tragedy to discover while doing your research. It just baffles me as to how people end up being so violent...sad indeed. I hope your research leads you to brighter news on your relatives!

  26. Such a sad and tragic story Duta.
    Genealogy sounds interesting.
    Keep going I'm sure you will find more great and wonderful story out there.

    Have a great weekend.

  27. Oh dear Duta. What a shocking thing to learn.

    I'm interested to know, how long has it been since you discovered this 'history'? How long has it taken for you to gather yourself & write about it? I'm guessing the writing is part of coping with the feelings you mentioned. It would be for me...

    Keep writing, dear lady. You clearly have so much to share with the world.

  28. The horror. The worst nightmare ever. I can see that you'd be shook up for weeks.

  29. PS - what's also tragic is that so many of us have known of people who have done this kind of horror.

  30. OMG, Duta that what horrible :-(

    So tragic and heart-wrenching to find out that the kid they even considered family will do that to them. May they all rest in peace.

  31. Cheryl,

    I hope so too. I like it when my research leads to positive people and happenings.


    Indeed , it does. Thanks for the visit and for the comment.


    Genealogy is very interesting and addictive. I haven't finished my research yet. There are at least two people I have no info at all on them.


    Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, it's not a unique case, and there are many killers out there that we've heard or known of.


    Such an horrible event leaves people wordless, even if they're not close to the family.
    Thank you for your comment.

  32. Susannah,

    Four years since I've discovered the tragic story . I may have mentioned it but haven't really written about it till now. You've guessed right - the writing is part of copying with the feelings. Thanks for your kind words.

  33. Duta, dear, I would be most grateful to get your perspective on my latest post. It's a bit long (a copied article from another blog), but very important re: Israel & its right to exist, survive, flourish...

    Would you mind, when you have a few moments?

    Thanks, friend.

  34. Susannah'

    I feel honored by your request. I'll gladly read and comment on your last post. Thank you.

  35. Sdas,

    Thank you for stopping by.

  36. What a tragic story! I have done much research on my family history also and have learned of both tragedy and successes! Overall, it gives such a feeling of connection to your family. You feel you know them and share their struggles and joys. I think it is an important connection.

  37. Welcome Susan! Thanks for the visit and the comment.
    I totally agree with your view on family history and the feeling of connection.

  38. Wow. How shocking to find that among your family history.