Murder in Texas

On August 2, 2009, a young man answering to the name of Jose Arturo Palacios Garza, 24, buys a hammer, at the cost of 27$ at the Target store situated at 8605 Westheimer road in Houston, Texas. On August 3 in the morning, he contacts Laura Palacios, his mother, to ask her pick him up because he has problems with his vehicle. The husband of Mrs. Palacios sees her for the last time around 11 a.m. she leaves to go get her son. Surveillance video of a gas station where they met shows them together around 12:20 p.m.

Jose Palacios kisses his mother on a cheek and takes the drivers place. Shortly after 1 p.m., the fire marshals are called because a car is on fire in a wooded area of Harris County, about 2 miles from the gas station. When they stopped the fire, they make the discovery of a body severely carbonized on the back bench of the car.

After verification, the authorities think that the body, apparently of a woman, is that of the owner of the vehicle, Laura Palacios. The body shows more than ten blows to the head, probably inflicted using a hammer. The tool is found on at the crime scene and will be investigated.

Under the body of the victim, the police force finds a cashier’s check written to Jose Palacios. His parents would have refused to give him this money out of fear he relapses into drugs. He had prior arrest in Houston for aggressions against members of his family and charges related to drugs. The evening of August 3, Jose Palacios crosses the border of Mexico to the station of Laredo a little after 10 p.m. The investigators thought that he might have fled to Monterrey or Veracruz. On August 8, he’s formally charged for the premeditated, first degree, murder of his mother. A warrant for arrest is issued.

On October 15, “Mrs. Wathelet’s good friend” tells us that Jose Palacios Garza came on Isla Mujeres around mid-august following the death from his mother in March of that year, a death that made him an orphan. With this information in hand, we turned to the police to ask whether a search for criminal records had been made. Facing an obvious lack of good will to do anything, to be dramatic, we tell them that his mother died, and that for all we know, maybe he killed her. Upon returning to Canada, we denounce this situation, amongst other things, in a letter addressed to the ambassador of Canada in Mexico to illustrate the blatant lack of cooperation. This letter was sent on November 4, 2009.

On November 23, the news comes to our ears. He’s wanted in Texas for the murder of his mother. Members of his family recognized him in the media and spread the word since the 18. The Canadian authorities must check this information but we go ahead to get an answer before Christmas of 2011. With the assistance of the investigators of Harris County, we check the necessary information for preliminary identification.

His family also tries to correct the false information broadcasted like his first name (in Mexico, he was called Jose Julian or Jose Joaquim, whereas it fore-mentioned Jose Arturo) and especially, the fact that he’s far from being orphan. The answer of the local Medias is clear: “We will not publish anything because it would attenuate the case and that’s bad for tourism”.

On January 12, the judge invites the family to come present to him the evidences and declares that if the prisoner is formally identified; he will take account of this crime for his sentence. After checking with Mexico and Texas, the prints needed to identify the assassin left Isla Mujeres, but more than one month later, they are not yet in Houston.

After the media outing of the human rights on January 27 and the declaration of the 29 by the judge who says the assassin will undergo an axial tomography of the brain, it was the opinion of our lawyers that it is necessary for us to get involved in the Media too before everything really gets out of hand. At the end of February, we go back to Isla Mujeres with members of the assassin family to meet the authorities again, give the documents and to make a joint press conference on February 27.

On March 2, the judge give an interview to the newspaper Respuesta to say it is not his responsibility to analyze these evidences from Texas and that he will not take it into account in his judgment. No comments…

Concerning the extradition, the procedures are following their courses. The authorities of Texas are experts in this field. However, the procedures concerning the assassination of Renee Wathelet have to be finished before Jose Palacios Garza is extraditable. Nothing is gained…


Official statement of the families »


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