Like Cleveland Kidnapping Victims, Miami Sisters Were Nearly Saved Only To Continue Suffering
Here in Miami, the horrific tale happens to bear an eery resemblance to this week's cover story, in which two sisters suffer unspeakable horrors at the hands of their own father, only to survive and seek vengeance.
And as with the Cleveland kidnappings, Miami's 28-year-old murder mystery could have been avoided had luck gone the sisters' way.
According to news reports, Cleveland Police responded to captor Ariel Castro's house on several occasions -- including after a neighbor reported seeing a naked woman crawling around the yard on a leash -- but did not enter.
Similarly, cops had several chances to catch suspected Miami murderer Jorge Walter Nuñez (aka Rafael Guzman) long before he allegedly killed his partner and her infant daughter.
Nuñez, who already had a criminal record in New York, was arrested shortly after moving to Miami in 1983. But the disorderly intoxication and resisting officer charges went nowhere.
Then, just a few months before he allegedly killed partner Nilsa Padilla and her infant daughter Alicia Guzman-Padilla, Nuñez was pulled over when his converted U-Haul struck an overpass. Again, however, cops had no idea that the man was already sexually abusing his own step-daughter, Bernisa, and would soon go on a murderous rampage.
Because Padilla's dismembered body was never identified, and Alicia's was never found, police had little reason to suspect Nuñez when they arrested him again in 1988 for disorderly intoxication and resisting officer.
And so it was that when Nuñez was finally caught molesting his own children in March of 1989, his daughters were too terrified that he would be released to tell the truth about the abuse. "If I tell you, will you let my daddy go?" younger child Gloria asked.
Courtesy of Miami-Dade Police Dept. Parts of Nilsa Padilla's body washed ashore on Virginia Key
Nuñez served just four years in prison. Despite being arrested roughly 50 times in Florida before and after the 1989 arrest, cops never connected him to the two murders until after his 2004 deportation.