Couple Hid Deceased in Fridge for Fear of Being Deported

Both the Santa Ana and Los Angeles police emphasize that undocumented people do not have to be scared of contacting the police
Couple Hid Deceased in Fridge for Fear of Being Deported
El cuerpo fue encontrado el pasado 17 de diciembre dentro de un refrigerador.
Foto: Captura / Twitter

After a couple hid a corpse for more than a year for fear of deportation, the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) emphasizes that undocumented people do not have to be scared of contacting the police, whether to report a crime, to help in an investigation or to support crime prevention.

The SAPD informed that a woman, identified as Ricarda Reyes-Villalobos, about 50 years old, died in August of 2014. However, her body was found just last week in a refrigerator left behind in a garage.

Reyes-Villalobos was found dead in a home located in the 1000 block of North Jackson St. in the Orange County municipality. According to an SAPD press release, the owner of the house found the body when he was checking the garage he rented to a couple.

The couple told the authorities they did not report the death of their former relative, whom they cared for, because of their undocumented status and due to fear of being deported.

“We do not deal with immigration issues, that is not our role, said the SAPD spokesman, Anthony Bertagna.

If this death had been reported to us or the firemen, we would have simply taken the body to the Coroner’s Office and the case would’ve been closed there,” said Bertagna, since apparently the woman died due to a disease she had suffered and died of natural causes.

Now, the Mexican couple that took care of the woman could face criminal charges.

Emphasis on cooperation

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) also encourages people to contact them without having to worry about their immigration status.

Since 1979, the LAPD has implemented the Special Order 40 that requires its agents not to investigate people’s immigration status to ensure that the immigrant community reaches out and assists in preventing crimes.

“It is imperative that undocumented immigrants, independently of their country of origin, understand that they are not at risk of being deported if they report crimes where they have been victims or witnesses,” said Chief Charlie Beck in a message to the community.