Family deaths front-page news in Nicaragua

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The deaths of the Meza family in York County this week have caused a stir in their native Nicaragua, where the mothers of Denis Meza and Marbely Meza have argued about who was responsible, according to newspaper accounts.

The Friday edition of “El Nuevo Diario,” a newspaper in Managua, had front-page photos of Denis’ mother, Dona Teodolinda Meza, and of Marbely’s mother, Orfa Molinares Munguia. The headline above Dona Teodolinda Meza’s picture says “Mi hijo no fue” (“It wasn’t my son.”)

Besides Denis and Marbely, children Denia, 14; Denise, 8; and Jairo, 5, were found dead in the charred house. York County authorities said the three youngsters had their throats slashed before the fire was deliberately set. Their parents died from smoke inhalation and burns.

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York County Coroner Doug McKown says investigators are still awaiting some toxicology reports, including one on DNA evidence that might determine who raped Denia within five days of her death. Sheriff’s deputies had arrested Denis Meza, 39, on July 16 on charges of sexually molesting Denia.

He had been scheduled for a court appearance Monday.

McKown also said while the bodies of Marbely Meza and the children had been turned over to Greene Funeral Home in Rock Hill, Denis Meza’s body was still waiting to be claimed. Marbley’s mother had said earlier that she wanted to bring the family home to Matagalpa to be buried.

A reporter with El Nuevo Diario, Joaquin Trrez, says the story has been one of the most talked about in Nicaragua, a Central American country of 5.3 million people between Costa Rica and Honduras. Trrez said there are some 500,000 Nicaraguans living in the United States, most who come to America to earn a better living.

“The truth is that it has been a tremendous drama,” Trrez said of the Meza family deaths.

Denis Meza’s mother told the newspaper her son couldn’t have killed his family because he was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church. She has asked the Nicaraguan government to bring back her son’s body because she doesn’t have the $1,500 necessary for expenses.

Members of Marbley’s family in Nicaragua said her mother, Orfa Molinares Munguia, had left for the United States on Friday and expected to stay in Rock Hill for about a month.

According to newspaper accounts, Marbley’s mother approached Teodolinda Meza after the deaths and said, “Do you realize what your son did? He killed my daughter and my grandchildren!”

But Marbley Meza’s father, Rosenberg Castillo Raiytes, said that he called Teodolinda Meza and found her “stricken and very sad. We didn’t talk much because she was very traumatized.”

Raiytes said Denis Meza was a good person.

“Well-mannered, hard worker and very honest,” he said. “I don’t have anything against Denis or Teodolinda (his mother).”


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Associated Press, USA
Aug. 14, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday August 14, 2004.
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