A Silver Spring man admitted in court Monday that he stabbed and cut his wife 79 times inside their apartment while their two children were in the next room. After the attack, he drove the boys — a 2-year-old and a 3-month-old — to his brother’s house, where he provided instructions for preparing the baby’s formula.
There were two stops to make on the way home for Bernardo Flores-Olvera on that cold night nearly six months ago, according to court records: the liquor store to buy brandy, and the supermarket for candles to light while he asked God and the Virgin of Guadalupe for forgiveness.
Flores-Olvera, 33, returned to the apartment. By then, his wife’s brother and sister were texting him and asking what was going on.
“We’re sleeping,” he wrote back. “Everything is OK.”
Flores-Olvera faces up to life in prison in the slaying, new details of which were revealed in court Monday as Flores-Olvera pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Elizabeth Vasquez. Her relatives sat in the front row, seething, crying and staring at Flores-Olvera. Among them was Vasquez’s 36-year-old sister, now raising the two boys in Silver Spring.
In an interview after the hearing, Vasquez’s sister said she did not know how or when she would tell the children what happened to their mother. Only one thing caused a smile to break through her tears: How her own children — ages 16, 8 and 6 — have taken to the new playmates.
“They love the baby,” said the sister, who asked not to be named. “They always play with him. They play with the toys.”
Dean G. Kilpatrick, director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, said women are more likely to be killed by their husbands than by strangers, and when it happens, it can leave children without either parent.
“It’s about as bad as it can get,” Kilpatrick said.
On Feb. 8, Flores-Olvera said he became upset when Vasquez told him that she did not love him anymore, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton. He grabbed a kitchen knife and chased his wife into the children’s bedroom, attacking her as she tried to climb out a window, Fenton said.
He grabbed Vasquez’s throat and stabbed her, Fenton said. A medical examiner found five stab wounds and 74 cuts on her neck, face, torso, forearm, hands and wrist.
He then took the children to his brother’s house.
After Flores-Olvera returned to the apartment, he tried to move Vasquez, according to court records. He eventually made his way to a pay phone, where he called the police and told them that he had killed his wife.
Larry Haley, the first officer on the scene, handcuffed Flores-Olvera. He noticed a decal on the back window of Flores-Olvera’s vehicle: The stick figures that represent family members.
“I could see that there were kids in those stick figures,” Haley said, according to his testimony at an earlier hearing in the case.
Haley was able to get a key to the apartment, where police found Vasquez’s body but no one else. Police eventually tracked down the children at the relative’s house.
Flores-Olvera later was read his rights in Spanish and admitted that he stabbed his wife, according to prosecutors and court records.
He is being held in the Montgomery County jail pending sentencing. Federal authorities have placed a detainer on him, an indication that Flores-Olvera might be in the United States illegally.