• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

What occurred to Floridalma Roque? She went to Guatemala for cosmetic surgery and by no means returned.

What occurred to Floridalma Roque? She went to Guatemala for cosmetic surgery and by no means returned.

Floridalma Roque arrived on the Perfektima clinic in Guatemala Metropolis on the morning of June 13 for a scheduled cosmetic surgery. A day later, Roque, a U.S. citizen, had disappeared with out a hint.

Roque’s household has been trying to find her since then, and the expertise has left them feeling lonely and determined as they attempt to navigate two prison justice methods and a stalling prison investigation.

Roque’s daughter Vida Roque, 22, instructed CBS Information that on June 14 she spoke to her stepfather, Jeremias, who was crying and saying her mom by no means got here again residence from the clinic. Roque, who lives in New York, had undergone a profitable surgical procedure on the Guatemalan clinic a 12 months earlier and returned to get liposuction on her again and arms, her daughter stated. 

Floridalma Roque arrives at a clinic in Guatemala City
Floridalma Roque arrives on the Perfektima clinic in Guatemala Metropolis on the morning of June 13, 2023 for cosmetic surgery.

Prosecutor’s Workplace towards the Crime of Femicide Guatemala

Her daughter stated Roque did not prefer to journey on her personal and at all times was accompanied so it might be uncommon for her to depart alone after the surgical procedure. Vida known as her mom’s telephone repeatedly however there was no reply. Rosario Sandoval, a relative, had agreed to choose up Roque from the clinic at 10 a.m. the day after the surgical procedure, Vida stated. 

Sandoval instructed Vida that she had pushed to the clinic and spoken with the receptionist, who put her in contact with the surgeon. The physician, Kevin Malouf, instructed Sandoval that Roque had left the clinic by 7 a.m. in an Uber.

That was the primary of many crimson flags for the youngsters of the 59-year-old caregiver from Queens. 

Altering and conflicting tales

“My mom doesn’t know how you can order an Uber, nor does she even have the app,” Vida, who lives in Maryland, instructed CBS Information. Her son Jose Lopez, 42, instructed CBS Information he normally spoke to his mom each day, so he stated it was unusual he had not heard from her.

When Sandoval questioned her taking an Uber, Vida stated Malouf instructed Sandoval that Roque had crossed the road. At first, he stated she went on her personal. Then he stated she had been with a nurse and in a wheelchair. Malouf instructed Sandoval clinic employees helped her into the automotive.

His story saved altering, and the household felt he wasn’t telling the reality. However they felt there was little they might do. The clinic may be very standard, and regarded one in every of Guatemala’s most luxurious cosmetic surgery suppliers. It is in an upmarket neighborhood with good shops, and Roque had been to the clinic earlier than. 

Video footage reveals a affected person being escorted from a cosmetic surgery clinic in Guatemala Metropolis. 

Prosecutor’s Workplace towards the Crime of Femicide Guatemala

“The clinic’s responses didn’t add up,” Vida instructed CBS Information. 

The household seen surveillance video obtained by the Guatemalan police that reveals a girl being escorted from the clinic, however the household does not imagine the girl within the video is their mom. The girl seen within the video is tall, and their mom is a petite lady, the youngsters stated. 

Vida contacted police in New York, however says she was instructed they could not do something about an individual lacking out of the country. 

She then approached the FBI and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala Metropolis and requested for assist finding her mom – however once more to no avail. The Abroad Citizen Workplace in D.C. linked Vida to the FBI, she stated, and officers stated native authorities wanted to deal with the case and so they might solely make “robust ideas.”

A State Division spokesperson stated, “We’re conscious of stories of a lacking U.S. citizen in Guatemala, and we’re monitoring the state of affairs.” The spokesperson added they work carefully with native authorities as they perform their search efforts and share info with households “nonetheless we will.” 

As a result of privateness considerations, the spokesperson stated, no additional remark could be offered.

The FBI nationwide workplace didn’t reply to an inventory of emailed questions.

Miami-based lawyer Frank Rubino, an professional in worldwide prison protection who represented Manuel Noriega earlier than the USA Supreme Courtroom, stated the U.S. authorities wants an invite from native regulation enforcement to conduct an investigation on international soil. 

Rubino stated instances in Central America are notably difficult, however he stated the U.S. authorities ought to get entangled as a result of “she’s a U.S. citizen,” and would assist if the household desires to see outcomes. The FBI might search permission from Guatemalan authorities to research Roque’s disappearance, he stated. 

Physician arrested  

Finally, the case was investigated by Guatemalan police, who obtained the surveillance video from the clinic, the nation’s Public Ministry, which oversees justice issues, stated in a press release to CBS Information.

Video footage reveals clinic employees finishing up giant rubbish bins. 

Prosecutor’s Workplace towards the Crime of Femicide Guatemala

Clips from the surveillance video seem to point out a affected person with a bandaged head leaving the workplace; the household says they do not acknowledge the particular person, and extra surveillance video reveals seemingly odd habits by the physician and clinic. It reveals clinic employees taking out a big rubbish container and luggage the night time of Roque’s disappearance. 

Guatemala’s Public Ministry, in response to CBS Information’ questions, stated that “on July 28, 2023, the Prosecutor’s Workplace towards the Crime of Femicide carried out search, inspection, registration and seizure of proof in 4 properties attributable to a report being filed two weeks earlier by the Roque household.”

The police arrested the physician and a few clinic employees, together with nurses, an anesthesiologist and an assistant from the clinic. Kevin Malouf, Ligia Silva, Luis Castro and Susana Rojas have been arrested, the Public Ministry stated. The Public Ministry stated that the Prosecutor’s Workplace towards the Crime of Femicide offered enough investigative means to hyperlink the 4 accused to Roque’s disappearance and cost them with kidnapping and obstruction of prison motion.

A portion of the Guatemalan police report
A portion of the Guatemalan police report

Courtesy Roque Household

In a June 19 assertion on his Fb account, Dr. Malouf stated after a profitable surgical procedure Roque left the clinic at 7:00 a.m. from the foyer in a wheelchair then she received right into a car and left.  Malouf stated afterward he had no communication with Roque and “discovered about her disappearance the identical day.”  

On October 19, the courtroom issued precautionary measures to the financial institution accounts associated to the physician, the Public Ministry stated, and Malouf is being held in jail. The investigation is ongoing, the Public Ministry confirmed to CBS Information.

There was no signal of Roque since her disappearance. 

Caught between two worlds

Roque’s kids instructed CBS Information they’ve obtained no dying certificates from authorities within the U.S. or Guatemala, and so they haven’t got their mom’s physique. Greater than six months after Roque went lacking, her condo stays as she left it, and there hasn’t been an avenue for the household to have her declared deceased.

If Roque is rarely discovered it could possibly take months or years for the household to get a dying certificates. As a result of there is no such thing as a physique the household is in a tough state of affairs, stated Renée Williams, Govt Director of the Nationwide Heart for Victims of Crime, as if you do not have a physique somebody might have simply disappeared. There are considerations of insurance coverage fraud stated Williams and courts need to guarantee that “particular person will not come again.” 

In Roque’s case prosecutors haven’t confirmed a criminal offense has been dedicated. 

“Declaring somebody useless with out a physique – particularly with the additional layer of the crime occurring outdoors of the nation – is a fancy course of,” stated Williams. 

Floridalma Roque
Floridalma Roque, 59, has been lacking since June 13, 2023. Her household has been trying to find her ever since.

Courtesy Roque Household

Crime victims or their households ought to instantly attain out to a victims’ help group, stated Williams. Advocates ought to be capable to present assets to the household and assist them navigate the usually difficult path to closure.

Roque’s kids, siblings and husband have traveled to Guatemala to strain investigators on the case. 

Her son Jose Lopez, stated, “it has been very tough as a result of the physician is somebody with numerous assets and cash.”

Jonathan Villatoro, the Roques’ lawyer in Guatemala advising the household, stated the case has been on maintain as a result of he and the household need to get a “excessive impact-judge for the kind of crime being tried” assigned to the case. The Public Ministry stated the protection requested for a change in decide.

“We’re caught in between two worlds,” stated Vida, as her household waits and hopes for solutions.

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