Rafael Esquivel Navas was known to his friends as a generous and dedicated man. He never missed work and was always willing to work extra shifts so he could save more money. Yet his dreams of having a better life and eventually going back to his native Nicaragua ended tragically.
Esquivel was found dead Tuesday afternoon in the modest studio he had rented for the past decade at 9536 NW Fourth Ave. near Miami Shores.
“The last time we talked was Monday night,” said Esquivel’s niece, Teresa Díaz. “He told me he had had a good day and was going home without any problems.”
The police said that they could not give more details because the crime is under investigation.
Esquivel was a restaurant service and maintenance employee at Miami International Airport. He arrived in the United States 25 years ago as a political refugee. According to relatives and friends, he was known for his honesty and was always willing to help others.
Esquivel was beaten to death by one or more intruders who broke into his studio. The robber or robbers took three pieces of gold jewelry, a 42-inch Samsung flat-screen television, and Esquivel’s car, a 2006 four-door Nissan, said Dionisia Ocasio, Esquivel’s sister.
“They broke into his house and killed him mercilessly. My brother never hurt anybody, he was honest and hard-working,” a shaken Ocasio said. “A person who lived here sometime ago had to move after thieves robbed her of everything she had.”
Esquivel’s family members believe the burglary occurred during the late hours of Monday. Ocasio said a friend of Esquivel’s went to his home Tuesday at about 2 p.m. because he was worried after Esquivel did not show up at work.
Esquivel normally began working at 6 a.m. He occasionally covered additional shifts until 10 p.m.
“My brother was very punctual, which is why his bosses were immediately surprised when he wasn’t at work early in the morning,” Ocasio said. “He liked helping people. He was very generous.”
Investigators asked anyone with information to call Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.