On Monday morning, Juan Carlos Cantos Padron strangled his girlfriend with a nylon cord in her Hialeah apartment, police said. Then, he swept away the couple’s 6-year-old son, found a wooded area in Florida City, and used white plastic tape to commit the same act, ending both their lives.
Raiza Dominguez Mateo’s body was found in her freezing apartment on late Tuesday afternoon. Police believe Cantos Padron lowered the temperature to preserve the body. When police couldn’t find Dominguez’s son, Yoan Sebastian Cantos, they issued an Amber Alert, asking the public to help locate the gray Toyota Tundra truck owned by his father.
Early Wednesday at about 1 a.m., a vehicle matching the missing truck’s description was spotted in a wooded area off U.S. 1 and Southwest 358th Street. A passerby spotted it and waved down a Florida City patrol officer. Inside the vehicle police found the bodies of Cantos Padron, 46, and his son. Dominguez, Padron’s girlfriend, was 43.
“It was very shocking what was found there,” Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velasquez said. “He [the father] strangled his son with a piece of plastic tape. He also was found with the plastic tape on his neck.”
Miami-Dade police, who are investigating the suspected double murder/suicide, haven’t confirmed the cause of death or the names of the three people found dead. Miami-Dade County Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said the vehicle found with Cantos Padron and his son’s body matched the description in the Amber Alert.
Almost immediately after the truck was discovered, the Amber Alert was canceled. The truck was towed to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office, where detectives will finish forensic work to try to identify the remains.
According to Hialeah Police Lt. Carl Zogby and Velazquez, police were first notified Tuesday by Dominguez’s daughter that her mother was not answering the phone at her home. When they reached the third-floor apartment of the building at 5775 W. 20th Ave., they found Dominguez strangled in her bedroom.
Velazquez said Dominguez’s daughter became alarmed when her 6-year-old brother did not show up for school Tuesday at Lincoln Marti Elementary. Police then used the GPS on Cantos Padron’s cellphone to track him and determined he was heading south, possibly on his way to the Florida Keys.
Police said Cantos Padron and Dominguez had been in a relationship with a history of domestic violence for seven years. The couple and their son moved to Hialeah from Cuba four years ago.