The family of Ramon Espat, Jr., who was murdered on Sunday night, says that he was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of his common-law wife and that his life was threatened. However, the deceased’s pregnant common-law wife denies the allegations.
by Charles Gladden
ORANGE WALK, Tues. Sept. 6, 2022
The father of 24-year-old Ramon Espat, Jr., who was fatally wounded by a barrage of bullets that were fired at him while he stood on a street in Orange Walk, has made a shocking claim—that his son was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of his common-law wife, Zayda Cuellar, who is currently pregnant with his child, and that he had received threatening messages on his phone.
As reported in Tuesday’s edition of the AMANDALA, at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Espat was socializing outside his common-law wife’s food establishment, Spicy Bites Restaurant, on Aurora Street in the vicinity of Hi-Five Night Club, when someone brandishing two firearms who seemed to be walking toward Guadalupe Street stopped as he was passing Espat and fired a number of shots at him, which caused Espat to die on the scene.
According to the father of the deceased, Ramon Espat, Sr., his son was hit 7 times by the bullets; and was wounded once on his head, and also on both sides of his torso.
Espat, Sr. told a local media outlet that his son had been in an abusive relationship and that he had received countless death threats via text messages on his phone right before his death.
“My son went through hell for four years. Every time my son comes crying home, he says he can’t take it [any] more. He was chased from home; he lived here with me for four months and a half. Meanwhile, he was living here, [and] threats were coming in. He cried to me and said, ‘you know what, threats are coming in’. We told my son not to go out there because of the threats, and that’s the reason I ask the police to find that phone and in the video, we have a female that picked up the phone, and you could see clearly that she has the phone,” Espat, Sr. said.
The victim’s common-law wife, Zayda Cuellar, however, has given a different account of the circumstances preceding his death. She said that on the night before Espat was killed, the couple had made an agreement that she would work throughout the day at a booth at the Fiesta FM Event at the market, where she would be selling food from the restaurant, while Espat would monitor the business at the Aurora Street location at night. That was when she got a call informing her that Espat was killed.
Cuellar recounted the ordeal in Spanish, and in that account that she gave to local reporters she said that Espat’s father accused her of orchestrating the killing and that the family refused to allow her to enter the hospital—claiming that she was only his mistress.
“When we got to the hospital, at that moment one of his sisters was already coming in the hospital, and the security told me that I couldn’t come in because only one person could, and I understood. I stayed in the corner, and I waited there. That’s where his mom and his dad were, and they started insulting me; they started attacking, and I felt better to leave from there. So I waited and waited, and when they gave us the bad news, it was that Ramon was dead. So when they told me that, I wanted to see Ramon, and to this day, his family still hasn’t let me see him. His father is accusing me that I sent someone to kill Ramon … When the doctors said that I could see him, all of his family lined up at the gate of the hospital and said that I do not have any right to go in because I am nothing but his sweetheart and that I am no one,” she said.
“When the doctors told me that I can go in, they hurt my mother as well; she had to get stitches. His sisters and mom attacked me and didn’t care that I was pregnant for Ramon, and they did to my brother as well. His father said that he wanted to speak to the director, and to now, I haven’t seen him and I can’t see him …” Cuellar added.
Cuellar said that the baby she is carrying will be the couple’s second child, as she and Espat, Jr., have a 4-year-old son together named Ramoncito and that everyone in town whom she knows knew that she was in a relationship with him and that she is innocent of the accusations.
Currently, no arrests have been made in connection with Espat’s killing. Police are seeking two suspects who may be responsible as their investigation continues.