Global Connect! Gender Justice Writing Project

Part: 2

A Mother is Murdered; Suspect Flees Again

Monday, August 15, 2011

In her first blog Global Connect! writer Zaira Cortés uses one case of domestic violence in her community to talk about domestic violence against all women to raise awareness of the problem and to encourage women to report incidents.

NEW YORK.--Elia Zamora died at dawn on an August day and memory of her was erased forever except for her loved ones.

She had punch marks on her body, reminders of the punishment she suffered in silence. "Her bruises sometimes hurt her physically, but her soul was in constant pain", said her sister Luz Maria Zamora

Zamora is one of the 90 women in New York City slain last year by their partners, like 69 percent of female murder victims in the city. In the first quarter of 2011, 17 domestic violence homicides occurred in the city of New York; 52 percent had no previous contact with the police and 96 percent had no orders of protection.

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The story of Elia's life and death is an all too familiar one. In Mexico we are socialized in a culture heavy in "Machismo". Then we immigrate to a country where women are granted more freedoms, a culture much less "machista" and with strong laws against domestic violence. However, we stay imprisoned in the old culture and do not take advantage of the new opportunities to break the cycle of domestic violence.

Elia met Hector Ramirez in Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico. From the beginning it was a very violent relationship. Her family intervened, convincing her to leave Hector and helped immigrate to New York City. For four years, she lived alone with her son.

"Hector contacted her asking Elia to help him cross the border," said a close relative.

Elia was working in a laundry but stared longer hours in order to pay for Hector's passage to New York City.

The Zamora's family stated that Hector Ramirez had a criminal record in Atlixco, Puebla, and that in May 2010 he had been arrested for drug possession.

"After living together for four months, my sister started suffering terrible beatings. Sometimes she arrived at work with bruises on her face," said Luz Maria Zamora.

The couple communicated in secret, until her family became aware that they were living together in the city.

She was 28 when she was stabbed to death in the bathroom of her apartment in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx.

At dawn on August 29, 2010; Elia returned home after attending a party, accompanied by Hector and their 9-year-old son. They had recently moved to a new apartment and they had bought furniture, according to Luz Maria Zamora

Hector, then 30, began accusing Elia of looking at other men in the party.

Elia's cries alarmed her upstairs neighbor who often visited the family.

When the neighbor entered the apartment, Elia asked her to call the police; however, minutes later Elia changed her mind.

"My sister didn't want the police help. She told the neighbor that her husband would leave the apartment as soon as he was dressed," said Zamora's sister.

The neighbor left the apartment. Minutes later she heard a piercing scream!

She hurried back to ensure that Elia and her young son were on unharmed. She opened the door and saw thatElia had a towel on her chest, trying to stop bleeding from stab wounds. The neighbor called 911.

Elia's son pleaded with her to hold on, telling her the ambulance was on its way.

The building's the security cameras recorded Ramirez fleeing through the hallways, apparently hiding the weapon in his clothing.

The police department reports the no weapon has been found.

Ramirez has not been arrested. Almost a year after the murder, the Zamora's family is asking for justice.

"He may be harming another woman. Another life may be in danger," said a close relative.

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Series Overview

Global Connect! Gender Justice Writing Project

Part: 9

A Woman In the Pursuit of Justice

Part: 8

Lives Cut Short: Trafficking from Mexico to New York

Part: 7

Family and Work: An Immigrant Woman's Dilemma

Part: 6

Poverty Is not Folklore for Indigenous Mexican Women

Part: 5

Bronx Playwright Creates to Engage Her Community

Part: 4

Mothers on the Move Signals Solidarity in South Bronx

Part: 3

Limitations of Language: A Barrier for mothers to overcome

Part: 2

A Mother is Murdered; Suspect Flees Again

Part: 1

Leaders Who Are Women of Color: Take a Deep Breath