The Squaring of a Crimeby Silvia Cherem
Mexico City (October 3, 2007)
Dana disappeared in Tulum. Her parents were alarmed by her absence. An American named Mati was the key to knowing more about her. Nevertheless, her disappearance was viewed with suspicion. Police in Quintana Roo did not help much, and the family wanted better results.
The first question that Itzhak Erez, consul of the Israeli embassy in Mexico asked Dror Rishpy when he telephoned him in Israel on April 24th was, whether Mati, just Mati only because nobody even knew his full name, was credible.
For him, Mati was a questionable piece of the puzzle, and now he didn't even respond to emails sent to him. Even so, rather than listening to his intuition, Dror wanted to cling to rationality: "He is totally trust worthy. He is a decent guy who told us about the disappearance of Dana. You should not be wary. "
On May 25, Erez organized several plans of action. He designed a flyer detailing the disappearance of Dana, which included photos, names and contact information, in English, Hebrew and Spanish. They were posted near Cancun and Tulum. An Israeli doctor who lives in Cancun contacted Stern offering to serve as a guide and support in the area. Stern began interviewing Israelis living in the Riviera Maya, in an attempt to obtain information. He sent an email to Mati, who never responded, and reserved a flight to leave that same night for the Federal District in Cancun.
Mark Stern arrived at the airport at midnight. At 5:00 am on May 26th, he departed for Tulum to meet two hours later with Mario Fernando Lira Manzanero, commander of the local Judicial Police. That same morning , he organized a small brigade of volunteers, policemen and journalists to start the search.
They started in the Caribbean Sea, bungalows where they found the backpack. With a photograph of Dana in their hands, they combed the archaeological area, beach ,fishermen and the jungle. They asked at each step if someone had seen or recognized her. They spoke with the people involved and searched for witnesses, attempting to unravel the threads of an unexplained disappearance.
At mid-morning, with no major findings, Mark Itzhak Stern decided to separate from Itzhak Erez to direct a two-pronged investigation: one regarding Dana, and another attempting to locate Mati. With the support of the commander and Lira Aviv Gezonterman, a 32 year old Israeli , who lives in the area and spoke with Dana at the Mezzanine party, Stern began looking for Mati.
Mati was the last person who saw Dana alive, it was he who gave notice of the backpack. He sought him as a witness, not as a suspect.
Despite the fact that everyone knew Mati in Tulum, the police still did not know his full name. Michaela, owner of a German restaurant Saffron confirmed having seen him the previous night. She was his neighbor, he lived above her apartment, and that night she heard his footsteps, moving furniture, and noise. He caused mistrust. He caused her German shepherd, always quiet, to become nervous.
She led the police to his apartment. The door was open, and they entered without touching anything. Mati, however, was no longer there. Probably, before the mobilization and the leaf letting of Dana's photo throughout the area of Cancun and Tulum. Mati, whose name is Matthew Ryan Walshin, had left a few hours earlier. Precisely when they were searching his room, now empty, he boarded flight 316, U.S. Airways Cancun to San Francisco, via Phoenix. He had been on the Riviera Maya nearly three months, from February 5th until April 26th.
In that small space with a kitchenette, rustic and dirty, littered with cigarette butts everywhere, there were still ice cubes in a refrigerator, cold drinks and a newspaper from Miami dated April 25, the day before.
He paid his bill through April 28th to Flor Pastrana Flores, his friend since 1996 and owner of that apartment in the village, on federal highway Tulum-Playa del Carmen and behind the nightclub Cabaret. He paid a symbolic amount. Only thousand 100 pesos for almost 15 days. He had taken refuge there a couple of weeks ago, when he left the hotel Caribbean Sea, after leaving Dana's backpack in charge of the hotel receptionist.
Matthew Ryan Walshin, who fled from justice, became the prime suspect. On the floor of the apartment, in his haste to leave, he left his driver's license issued in Los Angeles, California. It revealed his photograph, fingerprint, address in the United States and personal data. He was not 32 years old, as he told Dana, but 38 (born December 22, 1968).
From Israel, the Rishpys hired a group of soldiers who specialize in finding bodies in disaster areas. While their hope was that their daughter was kidnapped or drugged against her will, the group was sent to see if she had drowned or died falling from a cliff. They arrived in Tulum in the first days of May, and, since they did not speak Spanish, they were accompanied by Dan, Dana's brother, who lived in Spain.
Besides looking at pieces of clothing and bones in the vicinity of the beach, they examined tiny objects in the jungle with thoroughly trained dogs, studied sea currents and constantly questioned people about Dana and Matthew. Information flowed in droplets. In fact, it was almost zero.
"As for the Mexican police, they did not like the foreign investigators in the area and drove them off. Unknowingly, they made a mistake. "
Dan learned that a young photographer spoke about the weekly party at the Mezzanine. sent He reviewed his photos from March 30, and found several pictures of Dana. She was sitting back watching the show of Afroamerican drummers. taking pictures, walking alone, chatting with Steven William Miller, uncle or cousin Matthew, of whom nothing is reported in the police investigation. Dana is wearing a long sleeved green and black sweatshirt and black trousers. She is carrying her camera on her belt.
Dan noted that none of these objects sweatshirt, trousers or camera were in his sister's backpack, now,in the custody of the police. He concluded that in the heat of Tulum, which exceeds 40 degrees Celsius at noon, Dana could not have gone on March 31st wearing those clothes. If she really left for the ruins at 11:30, in the words of Matthew in one of his emails, she would have worn shorts and a short-sleeved shirt Additionally, she would have put those same clothes from the night before in her backpack.
Also, he noted that,as obsessive as she was about protecting herself from the sun's rays, she would have taken a hat and sunscreen, which were still packed.
Matthew had lied. Dana disappeared on the night of March 30, after the party at the Mezzanine, and not, as Matthew said, the morning of March 31st. Dana never went to the ruins, everything suggests that Dana died that night.
Lines of Investigation
The Public Prosecutor's Office began to take statements from potential witnesses. In each of the testimonies that are recorded in the preliminary investigation T-386/2006 the name "Matt" or "Matio" appears: a man tan and thin, with a thick beard, long blond curls and drugged out blue eyes. Almost every person interviewed described him as problematic and questionable.
Olaf, an employee of Don Cafeto, remembered him accosting some female Argentine tourists. Zsolt, a Hungarian who was his friend, said that "Matthew" had "problems with women" because he sought to have sex with them against their will. Yaad, a former girlfriend, stated that Matthew was impotent and was always stoned on marijuana and ecstasy tablets. Another young woman anonymously noted that Mati continuously stalked her.
The testimony of Scott, an American who on his own volition traveled to Mexico to give a statement regarding the disappearance of Dana, is revealing. This disciple of the psychic Ann Brennan, author of "Hands that heal," said that on April 4th, he chatted with Matthew on the beach.
They spoke of real estate and their shared desire to buy properties in the area. Scott recounted that day, that Matthew began to talk about a girl that he had met, who had gone to the ruins and had never returned.
He said her backpack was "impeccably organized," and he sought to show it to Scott. Scott questioned him as to why he had not given the backpack to the police. He Insisted that there something was wrong, because five days had passed. Matthew replied, "I am afraid of telling them because then they might suspect me."
A couple of days later, around 23:00 am, well into the night, Matthew arrived frightened at Scott's bungalow. Disheveled, he, insisted that he did not know what to do with the backpack. He alluded to the passport, a thousand dollars, which the girl left in a yellow card and contact details of her parents. Scott shifted the burden. "Go to the Police." Matthew refused.
Scattered and anxious, speaking incoherently. His anguish was eased only when he left. Then, he would seek council from his father, a lawyer in Los Angeles.
Scott said that Matthew never returned to see him. He said that Mati harassed women and that on one occasion, a man chased him on the beach to beat him. "I get the hunch that he is unstable, unbalanced and in need of care," he concluded.
A couple of weeks later, with the assistance of Interpol, the Mexican police entered into the record file number DGAPII/5315/07 that Matthew Ryan Walshin had an extensive criminal history in the United States. The office of Sheriff of the county of Santa Cruz and Lakeport records state that in 1989 Matthew was charged with rape, resisting and obstructing a police officer and contempt of court. In 1990, he was charged again for rape and sexual assault, and sentenced to five years' probation and 180 days in jail.
In 1993, he relapsed, and was accused of sexual assault in Santa Cruz, and later in San Francisco. (Source: Silvia Cherem / newspaper Reforma)
Octubre 3, 2007 08:20 AM October 3, 2007 08:20 AM