Sitting on a porch floor at a house on the 4400 block of Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken (NJ) a young woman looked after three little girls that played with her this past Thursday, while the red and baggy eyes of a man of about fifty years of age gave away his many hours without sleep.

Verónica and Ramiro Campos – the sister and the father of Marisol, a 21 year-old mother of two – still can’t understand how the young woman’s ex-boyfriend, 36 year-old Roberto Corona, took her life on the morning of August 12.

Ramiro told of the limited time that Corona spent with his two girls, adding that he (Corona) never played or got involved in their care either.

“He never worried for his daughters, every day he would arrive with beer and go into his room to get drunk,” said Verónica, who on the morning of the incident woke up thinking that the screams that she was hearing came from the neighbors’ kids.

More careful listening and her sister’s calls for help prompted her to get up and run towards the stairs where she heard a cousin implore Roberto to stop hitting Marisol.

“At that moment I didn’t make it down the stairs. Before I made my way down my cousin Sandra crashed into me,” Verónica recalled.

She said that Sandra was running up the stairs because Corona moved towards her and she feared for her life. When Sandra tripped over her, Verónica said that her cousin cried “Veronica run, (he’s) got a knife.”

Down on the first floor of the dwelling, Verónica remembers how she identified her sister’s legs while hearing the screaming cries of Jennifer, the youngest of the couple’s daughters, whom by all accounts seems to have been in her mother’s arms while she received four stab wounds from Corona.

Verónica also recalls how her husband Wilfredo Rodriguez caught his sister-in-law’s last glimpse of life.

“It was crazy seeing her laying there and the girl with blood all over her,” Rodriguez said. After he tried to tend for the victim he picked the little girl up into his arms and took her to another room.

“Without counting the handle it was an 8-inch French knife,” Rodriguez said, who understands about knifes from his days as a culinary-arts student when he used these kind of knifes.

Rodriguez recalls how Corona went towards the other side of the room and there he began to act as if he was going to cut his own throat.

“How could he have done it with the baby in front of him (…) I wonder if she had her in her arms of if she was next to her,” said Veronica as she tried to hold tears from flowing. The two girls are one and a half, and two and a half.

“Here everyone is going to tell you that Roberto was an alcoholic, however for him to have withstood the pain of both his pain and of what he did, he had to have a “perico” (cocaine) or something in his system,” Rodriguez said.

According to Verónica, Corona lost his driver license because he crashed a vehicle in Washington Township last May. She added that when Corona lived at that domicile he always arrived with great quantities of beer – the “30-pack” kind. The couple tells of how he would finish them all by himself.

“It’s not common that a person can withstand so many, this is why to me, he did do drugs,” Rodriguez said.

Veronica remembers that Campos used to play with the girls to a similar version of the “monster underneath the bed” known as “el cucuy or el coco” using an old mask, however since the incident; when Jennifer passes near the place where her mother perished she becomes frightened and with tears she says.

Veronica added that Marisol had everything ready to move to Queens, in New York, this past Wednesday, where most of her relatives live; one day after her death.

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Armando Segovia / Redacción AL DÍA