When philanthropist Elaine Vasquez returned home to find glass smashed in her rear patio door, the 69-year-old came around the other side and entered through her front door and found her Fort Lauderdale residence ransacked.
After she called police, one officer followed a “light blood trail into the small closet” in a bedroom. There Vasquez’s dachshund Papi was found hanging by the neck with a nylon strap and with his throat slit, the police report said, according to the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.
When Vasquez was told her dog was killed, police said she was “inconsolable.”
A bloody knife was left in a hallway; on the inside of the front door, these words were carved into the wood: “YOU NEXT.”
“I know nothing,” Vasquez told the Sun-Sentinel Tuesday of the Jan. 21 incident. “I don’t know who hates me.”
Police were still were investigating Tuesday; there are no suspects yet.
Vasquez is the widow of Erwin Vasquez, a cardiologist who ran La Clinica Luz Del Mundo (Light of the World Clinic), a free medical clinic in Oakland Park, Fla.
Vasquez also played big parts in creating a number of Hispanic organizations, including El Heraldo de Broward, the county’s first Spanish-language newspaper. Vasquez died of cancer in 2010, but his widow continued work on the Erwin and Elaine Vasquez Family Foundation.
“What kind of people could do that?” Sandra Lozano, executive director of Light of the World Clinic, asked the Sun-Sentinel regarding the crime, calling it “senseless.”
Lozano added that Papi was Erwin Vasquez’s constant companion: “We were all moved because we knew how much Papi meant to Elaine. He was Erwin’s dog, and her connection to him. She babied that dog like she babied her grandchildren.”
Of the incident, Vasquez’s daughter Lisa Miceli, told the Sun-Sentinel, “We are not allowed to discuss anything. We’re sad, that’s all.”
Detective DeAnna Greenlaw said some items were reported missing from the house after the burglary but disclosed no specifics. Neighbors told police that a white SUV was spotted in the area around the time of the break-in. Miceli told police that she and her mother reported a suspicious vehicle parked across the street from the house on Dec. 31, describing it as a white pickup.