Mysterious death of a Colombian general’s daughter: accident or foul play?
A night out in Bogotá turned deadly for one young woman on the early morning of Sunday, Feb. 4. Now authorities and family members are left to wonder how and why María Andrea Cabrera, the 25-year-old daughter of retired Colombian army general Fabricio Cabrera, passed away with what lab results showed to be ecstasy and alcohol in her body.
Lead forensics director Carlos Valdés is quoted in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador as saying the cause of death was intoxication from the combination of the two substances. “These two substances together generate hydroelectric alterations that produce swings in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems,” Valdés said. “This young woman was not intoxicated with any other substance.”
According to a police report released last week, Cabrera was out with friends in the Chapinero district of Bogotá when she began showing signs of illness. María Andrea and her three girlfriends were out with four young men, including one being identified with last name Ladino. One of María Andrea’s friends who told police she was sober the entire night, added that María Andrea was alone with Ladino for at least 15 minutes and that she fainted in the bar shortly after returning.
When the friends were in a car headed to someone in the group’s apartment early on Sunday morning, Cabrera began bleeding uncontrollably from her nose, the police report said. She then passed out when arriving at the apartment before she was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at the scene when she entered at 6 a.m.
Because of the ecstasy found in her body, the question now becomes whether Cabrera willingly took the drug or if it was unknowingly forced on her.
Bogotá Chief of Police Hoover Penilla said last week that Cabrera’s death is not related to any criminal activity as authorities quickly ruled out attempts of robbery or sexual assault. Though authorities say they have no evidence to investigate the case as a homicide, former President Álvaro Uribe tweeted the next day, “The murder of my General Fabricio Cabrera’s little girl is a national tragedy. Such grief!”
El asesinato de la hijita de mi General Fabricio Cabrera muestra una tragedia de Patria, qué dolor!
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) February 4, 2018
Uribe’s controversial tweet was met with considerable backlash from Twitter users reminding him that there has been no evidence of foul play made public.
The Cabrera family lawyer Jaime Granados stoked the flames a bit higher when he told El Espectador on Friday that he can prove María Andrea’s death was the result of a homicide. He said she has a drug-free history that can be corroborated with family testimony and added that his team of investigators claim some of the young men she was with that night have criminal records related to similar drug cases. He went as far as to accuse Penilla of wrongly dismissing evidence of a homicide.
“There are people who will be found,” Granados told the newspaper. “They have tried to misinform and distract from the attention of this case and, it hurts to say, but one of those is Bogotá Police Chief Hoover Penilla, who irresponsibly dared to usurp a power that he doesn’t hold by saying that this doesn’t relate to a crime and giving info that isn’t true.”
General Cabrera told Colombia’s BluRadio on Monday morning that he also believes the drug was slipped into her drink.
“She would never have voluntarily taken something like that,” he said in the radio interview. “They gave this to her, which we know because her girlfriend was also intoxicated with the drug, according to the lab tests.”
General Cabrera’s claim that another friend was given the same drugs as his daughter was already refuted by police last week, as Penilla publically dismissed claims that others in the group were drugged.