By Valentine’s Day in 1993, Juan Manuel Navarro and Ignacia Manriquez had split. Ms. Manriquez had custody of their three children. She also had a restraining order against Navarro. Did she realize that this day would turn into Valentine’s Day Horror?
Juan Navarro and Ignacia Manriquez met in high school and started dating at the age of 16. Over the next few years, they had three children together. Though they did not marry, they lived together until the end of 1992. At that time, Manriquez took the children and went to live with her parents.
According to witnesses, Navarro refused to let Manriquez go. At one point, Manriquez and her sister noticed Navarro following them. This worried them as Navarro seemed obsessive with Manriquez.
Navarro’s sister worried as her brother told her he was jealous of Manriquez possibly dating another guy. She stated that at one point he seemed to want to kill Manriquez saying to the effect of no one else can have her. He even told his sister that he wanted to kill Manriquez’s sister-in-law because he felt the sister-in-law influenced her away from him. A good friend corroborated the tale, claiming that Navarro was pretty jealous of Manriquez.
Valentine’s Day Horror
Depending on the Testimony this part happened either on February 12th or February 14th. Manriquez and her children stayed over at a friend’s apartment as they all planned to attend a swap meet. That morning Navarro showed up and one of his children let him in the door.
Manriquez showed Navarro the restraining order and told him to leave. When he refused she threatened to call the police. While the friend testified that Navarro grabbed the phone from Manriquez, Navarro says he never touched the phone. Whatever happened, no call to the police happened and Navarro stayed at the apartment for four hours.
Finally, Manriquez and her children left with the friend to go to the swap meet. They noticed Navarro following him at the swap meet for about an hour before following them back to the apartment. At some point in all this time, Navarro acquired a gun. At the apartment, Manriquez decided to take her youngest son to the hospital for an earache. Navarro followed.
A witness testified what happened next. The witness said he saw the two leave the emergency room with the little boy. Manriquez looked like she was crying while Navarro spoke to her aggressively. Though the witness admits he could not understand what they said. He then saw the little boy climb into the back of a truck. Manriquez attempted to get in the driver’s seat, but Navarro pulled her out and shot her.
The Aftermath of the Valentine’s Day Horror
The witness testified that Navarro then took the young boy out of the truck and ran off. He tried to follow but could not keep up. At the site of the shooting, the doctor pronounced Manriquez dead.
After the shooting, Navarro called a friend and with the friend took his four-year-old son to a ranch. While the boy said he never saw Navarro after being left at the ranch, Navarro says he stayed there for over a week before he left. The man at the ranch returned the boy to his paternal grandparents.
Navarro, still a citizen of Mexico, fled back there. While there he married another woman and had another son. He also started a construction business. He had no contact with any of his children from Manriquez.
Hidden in Mexico, authorities found it difficult to find Navarro. Eventually, they succeeded and the FBI took custody of Navarro in 2010. Almost two decades had passed since he murdered Ignacia Manriquez.
A couple of years later at the end of the trial, the jury found Navarro guilty of the murder. The judge sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison. The family of Manriquez was grateful to have justice prevail.
Navarro’s lawyer filed for an appeal. In 2013 the court of appeal heard the case for Navarro. They filed for a mistrial based on possible submitted hearsay evidence and mistranslation. It did not succeed. I have found no more information about what happened to Navarro.
The three children on Navarro and Manriquez survived and Ignacia Manriquez’s parents raised the three children. Sadly the children could also be said to be victims of this Valentine’s Day Horror, especially the four-year-old boy that witnessed it all. Though decades have passed, I pray for the comfort of this poor family as they go through this troubling holiday. I doubt Valentine’s Day means the same for them as the rest of the world.