A man strangled his wife to death and then hanged himself in the apartment the couple had shared for more than a decade in western Hialeah, authorities said Wednesday.
The bodies of Gilma Martínez, 40, and Oscar Mendoza, 45, were found by Hialeah police who were called to the apartment shortly after relatives of the couple had called 911 around 8:30 am.
“When the officers arrived and entered the apartment, they found that these two people had already died,” said Sgt. Eddie Rodríguez, spokesman for the Hialeah police. “This is a regrettable tragedy.”
Rodríguez said the couple, natives of Honduras, were involved in a “domestic dispute.” They had been together for 21 years and there were no previous reports of abuse, according to police.
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Detectives from the homicide unit of the Hialeah Police Department cordoned off for several hours the scene of the crime, the Las Brisas Gardens apartments at 207 W. 65th St., just a few feet from the popular Amelia Earhart Park.
The couple had lived in the complex for at least a decade, according to a security worker. They were the parents of four children. Two of them, 20 and 17 years old, lived independently while the two other children, 10 and 8 years old, lived with the parents.
On Wednesday the two minors were staying with an older sister, who also lives in Hialeah, because school was closed for a Teacher Planning Day. The older sister, whose name was not made public, arrived at the apartment complex and found the homicide-suicide.
Another relative, a brother of Mendoza’s, also went to the apartment after learning about the crime, according to investigators, who said the two brothers worked together as mechanics.
A man who identified himself only as the security supervisor in the complex said the couple were nice.
“We never had any major problems with them,” he said. “In all this time, we never saw anything like this here — so that's why we were surprised.”
But just four years ago this neighborhood saw another well-publicized case of domestic violence. In December 2010, in the neighboring Golden Eagle apartments at 6565 W. Second Court, .
Yoanys Martínez-Avila, 31, was murdered by her husband, José Antonio Pupo González, in front of one of their two young children. The husband fled the scene but was arrested after he was hit by a truck on the Palmetto Expressway. Shortly before his arrest, he had doused himself with kerosene on the roof of a building on busy 49th Avenue.