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Father’s Day Murder-Suicide Shakes Quiet Community of Las Delicias
By Ashley Steyaert

The people of Las Delicias are mourning the loss of two of young people who grew up together in the small village tucked behind Garza Beach, after an ongoing quarrel between them that ended in a harrowing murder-suicide on Sunday, June 20th, 2010.
The victim, 22-year-old Leonela Obregón Castrillo, mother to a five-year old and two-year old, was reportedly killed by the father of her youngest, Harle Hernández Rodríguez.

According to Leonela’s father, Bertilio Obregon Carrillo, “the two knew each other ever since they were kids… and they fell in love 2 or 3 years ago.” However, he says, because Rodríguez, ”used to beat her.” she separated from him about eight months ago and went to live in Nicoya with her mother.

Leonela and her children lived in peace during this time and attended classes at the high school in Nicoya, her father tells us. However, during a Father’s Day celebration on June 20th, Leonela was visiting her father in Las Delicias. It was there that the tragedy occurred.

That Sunday morning there was a soccer game in Las Delicias where nearly the entire town turned-out, including Leonela’s sister, Leticia. Leticia tells us that during the game Leonela was at her father’s house cooking, and her 5-year-old son came to get her from the soccer field. “When I got [to the house] she was sitting on the chair crying and told me ‘Harlen came and he threatened me, he said he had the medicine for me… and he showed me guns’.”

There, in her father’s house made of dirt floors, unfinished wood and a tin roof, Leonela told her sister “If I die…you have to take care of the little ones for me.” Leticia told her “stop talking nonsense, get ready so we can go see the [soccer] game.” The two young women then prepared themselves and walked back up to the field, some 75 meters away from their father’s house. Once they arrived at the game, Harle came to pick up their two-year-old daughter. He asked for the little girl’s backpack. Leonela told Leticia “I left it in the house, I’ll be right back”, and she went back to the house with Harle and her two children.

Moments later, gunshots sounded. Leticia says, “When I heard the first shot I came running. As I was leaving [the field, I saw Leonela], she was walking, carrying the little girl and the little boy.” Leonela had been shot in the leg trying to escape. The 16-year-old girl watched as Harle shot a second bullet, this time into her sister's chest. Leticia says “When [Leonela] saw me, it was as if she felt happiness” that her sister was there. Leonela then opened up her arms “so that [Leticia] would take the little ones” from her. Harle then shot Leonela in the head, and by the time her father arrived at her side he said there was nothing he could do to save his daughter. Harle had fled the scene. Choking back her tears, and demonstrating an incredible amount of strength, Leonela’s sister tells VON “nobody saw it, just us… my niece, my nephew, and me.”

Harle, according to Bertilio, went directly to his father’s house where Harle told his father to take care of the two-year-old because “I killed Leonela.” The young man then went to his uncle’s property nearby, where he hanged himself about a half hour after killing Leonela.

Despite this stunning trauma, Harle’s sister, Cileña Hernández, tells us “I believe everything is okay [between the two families]… [Leonela’s family] know[s] that we never had anything against them, nor them against us, it was just something between them, they had their problems.” Bertilio supports this, saying “we have never had any [family] problems… it was only between [Leonela and Harle].” He adds “[Harle’s] father is an excellent person, he came here and hugged me [the day their children died], there was nothing that any of us could have done about what happened.”

Leonela was laid to rest in Barco Quebrado the morning of June 22nd, while Harle was concurrently buried in Guiones.
Grief stricken, Cileña sends the message that “sometimes we let problems make us think that there is no solution, but there is a solution. Perhaps there are people who are going through the same problems, and I hope that they reflect on them, so that they don’t do something like this.”


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