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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Pedro Maldonado Murder-Suicide Case

     In 2013, Pedro Maldonado and his wife Monica, citizens of Ecuador, South America, were living in the United States on expired visas. The couple resided in a gated community in Weston, Florida thirteen miles west of Fort Lauderdale. The Maldonado's 17-year-old son Pedro Jose Maldonado Jr. attended Cypress Bay High School where he was a drummer in the band. The older Maldonado son, Jose, was a student at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

     Mr. Maldonado and his 47-year-old wife not only faced deportation back to Ecuador, they were in serious financial trouble. An exporter of police supplies to South America, he had recently lost most of his business. In September 2013 the couple's drivers' licenses expired. As people living in the country illegally they could not renew their licenses and drive legally.

     Due to his citizenship and financial problems, the 53-year-old Maldonado felt helpless and doomed. Facing a bleak future, he slipped into depression to the point of becoming suicidal.

     On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at four-fifteen in the afternoon, Mr. Maldonado telephoned a friend in Miami and gave him some shocking news. According to Maldonado, he had killed Monica and their son Pedro in the family's Weston townhouse. Maldonado said he had shot them the day before with arrows fired from a crossbow. When asked where he was calling from, Maldonado said he had checked into a motel near Lake City, Florida. The stunned recipient of the phone call immediately notified the authorities.

     In Weston, Florida, Broward County sheriff's deputies, at six that evening, entered the Maldonado townhouse where they discovered the dead bodies of Monica Maldonado and her son Pedro. They had each been shot in the head with small arrows or darts fired from a crossbow that featured a pistol grip. (I assume the victims were shot while they slept.)

     On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, about seven hours after Pedro Maldonado called his friend in Miami with the startling news, deputies with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office spotted his SUV parked outside the Cabot Lodge Motel near the intersection of Interstates 10 and 75 near Lake City, 100 miles east of Tallahassee. Shortly thereafter police officers evacuated the motel and called in a SWAT team and a crisis hostage negotiator.

     SWAT officers, after receiving no response from Maldonado's room, entered the motel at two in the morning on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. The officers found Mr. Maldonado dead in the bathroom. He had used a knife to slit his throat. 

     Investigators, in piecing together the sequence of events that unfolded over the previous two days, learned that Maldonado, after murdering his wife and youngest son in the Weston townhouse, drove 460 miles north to Tallahassee where he checked into a motel. Just after seven o'clock Tuesday morning, December 3, 2013, Maldonado shot his 21-year-old son Jose in the ear with  a crossbow dart. Having failed to make a killing shot, the father tried to choke his oldest son to death. Following a struggle, the young man managed to escape.

     Jose Maldonado did not report his father's attempted murder until after he learned what had happened to his mother and his younger brother.

     Neighbors in Weston described Mr. Maldonado and his family as quiet people who kept to themselves. The only sounds anyone heard coming from the townhouse involved the boy's practice sessions with his drums. Moreover, Mr. Maldonado did not have an arrest record in the United States and the local police had never been called to the house to mediate a domestic dispute.

     That Pedro Maldonado committed suicide is not shocking. What is a mystery is why he decided to end the lives of his wife and his children. When the American dream ended for the father he must have decided that if he couldn't have it, neither could his wife and two sons. This case reflects the fact that there are things in life and crime that will never make sense. This is particularly true in the world of suicide and murder.


  1. He's called a "family annihilater"the same as other men reported here who kill theur families. He honestly believes that the family will perish or not enter heaven if he kills himself and not them. It's a form of malignant narcissistic disorder. Often inspired by religious ferver, but also because of a perceived loss of respect and/or love of the killer. It's sad and it happens way too often. There was an instance in British Colombia just awhile ago. He murdered his wife and four kids, then himself. Waited for them to come home and shot them all. We can't fathom that level of narcissism, not even a little.

  2. So sad. I was in class with Pedro (the son). He was a funny guy and we had a great time joking around in APUSH. What a shock it was to discover that that happened to him. Hope his older brother is doing alright