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.

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.

"We have not given up. There is still a lot of pain in our hearts. Hector Ramirez should be in prison. Our family will not feel safe until Hector pays for his heinous crime," said a close relative.

The New York City Police Department has increased the reward for the suspect from $12,000 to $22,000 and they hope someone will recognize Ramirez and inform the police where he can be found.

Read the original blog at Zaira’s blog Siuatan

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