What Happened To Mario Amado?

Story

Compared to the last case, this one is way more straight forward. This is more a case of a “did he kill himself or was there a cover up” type of scenario. For that reason, there are only two theories and, in my opinion, one of them is not even close to being the truth. With that said, let’s dive in.

During the early summer of 1992, 29 year old Mario Amado, his girlfriend “Paula” (this is an alias to conceal her identity), Mario’s older brother Joe, and Joe’s girlfriend, Debbie, all left Los Angeles to go to Rosarito Beach, Mexico. The group wanted to take the trip as a little vacation of sorts and went there to party for the night. They arrived at around 1:00AM on the morning of June 6. A relative of Paula’s happened to have had a condo in that area and allowed them to stay there for the night. At around 3:30AM, Joe and Debbie decided to go to bed while Mario and his girlfriend stayed up. Joe and Debbie were woken up at around 7:00 AM by the sound of Mario and Paula arguing. The argument got so bad that Mario entered their room claiming that he wanted to go home. Just a few hours later,however, they two had reconciled and things proceeded as normal. With this new sense of calm, Joe and Debbie went on a drive around the coast of California that afternoon.

While they were gone, Mario and Paula got into another argument – and this one escalated a bit. She attempted to kick him out of her family’s condo, but he refused to leave. Mario was arrested a few minutes later when the police arrived. He was taken in for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Oddly enough, however, he was not formerly charged with either.

Joe and Debbie returned to the condo at around 6:30PM. They saw from the outside that the place was empty. Soon after, they noticed that the spare key under the mat was missing and they couldn’t get in through the front door. Debbie had to crawl through a window to get inside the house. Just a few seconds later, four police officers arrived, asking for Paula (think of how weird it is for police officers to show up at your house and call for one of your family members by name). Suspicious, Debbie decided to follow the officers. They went to a bar and seemed frantic, searching for Paula.

When Paula returned to the condo, she was confronted about the whereabouts of Mario. Unfortunately, she claimed that she didn’t know where he was. A couple of hours later, detectives got to the scene and informed the group that Mario was dead. Joe immediately went with the detectives to the police station. He was shown pictures of his brother’s body and couldn’t understand why he was missing his shirt (this will be poorly explained shortly).

Joe was told that Mario killed himself. By hanging. With his sweater. He tied his sweater around his neck and hung himself from a bar that was three feet off the ground. Joe, being reasonably skeptical, asked the detectives why no one stopped him. They claimed that everyone at the station was asleep while all of this was going on – forgetting the fact that this apparent suicide occurred at 5PM, a time where most likely none of these people were sleeping. Of course, Mario’s brother wasn’t buying this story. To make matters worse, Mexican authorities wouldn’t even let Joe return to the states with Mario’s body. They needed time to complete an autopsy that would take an undetermined amount of time. Not surprisingly, when the autopsy was finished a week later, it listed the cause of death as a loss of oxygen to the brain from hanging himself. To make matters even worse, the Mexican authorities were in violation of international agreements by not contacting the United States to make them aware of Mario’s death.

Joe went back to the states on a mission. He contacted congressman Howard Berman and gave him a rundown of the situation, as well as his suspicion of the ruling. After getting the congressman on board, Joe went onto hire his own independent pathologist. He conducted his own autopsy on Mario and found internal damage to his liver. This was not only strong evidence that he was punched in the upper abdominal area, but such an injury would prevent him from even being able to hang himself. Joe and Congressman Berman came to the (very likely) conclusion that Mario was beaten to death and then a hanging was staged to cover it up. The Los Angeles County Coroner reviewed both autopsy reports and agreed that Mario had probably been murdered.

Theories

Theory #1 – Mario Killed Himself

Yeah…no.

Theory #2 – Mario Was Murdered

Out of the two possible options, this is the only one that has any merit. The thought that Mario got punched in the stomach (by who is another mystery) and then decided to take his shirt off and hang himself with it is just a little absurd. There has been no mention of a cell mate either so – as mentioned before – who punched Mario in the stomach? How did Mario know everyone was asleep and he would be in the clear to hang himself? Well, those are easy to answer. Mario was beaten up by the police at the station. I’m not entirely sure why (perhaps Mario was a little drunk when he was being brought in and agitated the officers that brought him in) but they almost certainly roughed him up while he was there. At some point, they went too far and – I would assume – nearly killed him. The only reason I don’t think they full on killed him is because the independent autopsy would indicate one of the blows to his body did him in and not asphyxiation. While having Mario near death, they killed him and then (poorly) staged his suicide.

The one massive question mark on this case is where “Paula” fits into everything. Paula had Mario arrested, taken away in police custody, and then disappeared for some undetermined amount of time. The strange part is that when Joe asked her where Mario was, she responded by saying she didn’t know. But she did know. She called the police on him. Then there is the question of why the police were looking for her specifically. The pulled up to the house where they picked up Mario asking for Paula by name. If they were just looking for someone to inform of Mario’s death, they would have asked questions of the two people who seemed to be staying at the same house where he was picked up. Then, they went to a bar looking for her? The whole thing seems strange. The problem is that this was their case and they question who they want to question (which, in this scenario, was nobody).

Status

Congressman Berman contacted the President of Mexico and got him to reopen the investigation. This lead to yet another autopsy for Mario in January of 1993. An autopsy which basically solidified the theory that he was murdered. There were rope fibers found embedded in his neck, as opposed to fibers from the sweater that police say he hung himself with. In May of 1993, police officer Jose Antonio Verduzco Flores was tried and convicted of Mario’s murder for which he was sentenced to 8 ½ years in prison in May of 1996. Unfortunately (though, if you look into their history at that point, unsurprisingly), just a few months later, his conviction was overturned in the Mexican court of appeals.

What happened to Mario Amado?