A missing persons case took a turn for the gruesome yesterday when police found a badly decayed body in the disappeared woman's car. That's when the case got truly bizarre. Hours later, Miami Police got wind that the woman's boyfriend had fled to the Florida Keys on a boat with his mom and a Siberian husky.
Local cops tracked him to Big Coppitt Key, where they chased him into the woods. But as they approached, the man -- 33-year-old Roy Ruiz Blanco -- buried a steak knife in his stomach and his mother gulped down a bottle of pills. Blanco later died.
The facts are still emerging, but for now it looks like it may be yet another instance of domestic abuse turned deadly, with witnesses telling police that Blanco and the missing woman -- 28-year-old Miamian Tanya Gonzalez -- had a long-running violent relationship.
Police had been looking for Gonzalez for about a week. She had gone shopping with her aunt September 9 at the Shops of Midtown and then vanished.
Yesterday's fast-moving developments began when police found Gonzalez's car parked on a residential street in Flagami. As neighbors and Gonzalez's friends and family who'd flown to town to help search for her looked on, police popped the trunk to discover a horribly decomposed body, the Miami Herald reports.
Cops had already been looking for Blanco, who one co-worker tells the Herald had been "getting physical" with Gonzalez and lately threatening to kill himself. Gonzalez had broken off the relationship and moved to Aventura.
Hours after discovering the body, police in the Keys cornered Blanco and his mother. They rushed the man to Lower Keys Hospital, says Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin, but he died there soon thereafter. His mother is expected to recover.
As weird as the case turned out, signs point to it being an all-too-common problem that's finally been getting national attention thanks to the ongoing Ray Rice saga in the NFL.
As former Herald staffer Diana Moskovitz wrote in a heartbreaking Deadspin column last week, cops and reporters in Miami know exactly how these kinds of cases will end.
"It's amazing how routine abuse can become. That's why, whenever a woman turned up dead in South Florida, I knew exactly what to do," Moskovitz wrote. "First, find the old restraining order she'd let expire. Second, pull the file from the courthouse. Finally, find the letter inside in which she'd told the court her boyfriend or husband promised he would never hit her again."
Moskovitz points out that reality not to blame the victims in the case, but to show the unequal power balance that too often clouds what's going on in domestic violence cases.
"Attackers in domestic violence have an advantage most criminals don't. They have an intimate relationship with their victim and know exactly how to appeal for sympathy. They prey on our capacity to forgive," she writes. "In the detention-center calls, first the men downplay what happened, then they beg for help."
Police are still investigating Gonzalez's case -- it could be weeks before the full story comes out. But domestic violence clearly remains a fatal and too infrequently discussed problem in Dade County.
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