Rosalina Cano Quinteros fears the worst about the person who killed her 4-year-old son; that it was someone the family knows.
The idea of what she called "a monster" living near her in the neighborhood around Churchill Downs has left her, and many in the
close-knit community, shaken and worried that children can no
longer play safely outside.
"There's no trust, no peace, now that a child can walk, can play," Cano, 39, said Tuesday.
The comments by Cano and the boy's father, Cesar Aguilar Quebedo, 29, were the first since Louisville police positively identified a body found in a trash bag Saturday as that of Cesar "Ivan" Aguilar-Cano.
Louisville Police Lt. Col. Tim Emington said the case is being investigated as a homicide, but investigators have named no suspects.
"My son was close to home, so it had to be someone close," Aguilar said. "It's a monster who did this. I will track this person down and kill him with my own hands. I have to find this person."
Cesar was last seen alive June 29, playing outside of the apartment where he lived near the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Neighbors told police that Cesar was a curious boy who would
sometimes run around the complex unsupervised. It wasn't uncommon
for the boy to go inside open apartment doors, they said.
Cano said her son's uninhibited behavior may have led to his death at the hands of someone familiar.
"Yes, I think so," she said, breaking down in tears.
That idea worries the Rev. Ken Boehm, the Churchill Downs chaplain. While some of the barn workers at the track stay on the grounds and inside the gate, others, like Cano Quinteros, stay in nearby apartments, where there is less security.
"We tend to take our security for granted, being back here in this environment," Boehm said.
While police have received more than 100 tips and more than 350 people showed up at Christ Chapel at Churchill Downs on Monday night for a memorial service, getting cooperation has been tough for investigators at times.
Miguel Laguanos, a family friend, said the boy's slaying and the
investigation have many fearful not only of a killer on the loose, but of the police, too. The idea of being deported may keep someone from coming forward with valuable information, Laguanos said.
"Since many people believe the police department is the immigration department, I feel that they will not get involved," Laguanos said. "This is not an issue of immigration. It's an issue of murder now."
For now, Cano and Aguilar are planning Cesar's funeral in his native Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Sister Larraine Lauter, an Ursuline nun who served as a translator for the family at a press conference Tuesday, said getting the boy to Guatemala could take weeks, and some family members must make sure they can leave and return to the United States.
"I've been involved in cases that take months," Lauter said.
Cano and Aguiar plan to return to Louisville after the funeral. Cano said she eventually wants to go back to work at Churchill Downs as a hot walker of horses, a job she quit a few days after her son disappeared. Before that, though, Cano wants to see the person that killed her son arrested and some peace return to her neighborhood.
"I've got to return to ask for justice for my child," she said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)