Laura Arredondo was at work that morning when she received a call from an distressed employee at Arredondo Ventures. "He called me and he just said, 'Laura, come to Arredondo Ventures!' And I said, 'What? Why? What happened, Ali?"
She grabbed her purse, drove to the business with many thoughts racing in her mind. Ali was a long-time, trusted employee. What could be so upsetting that he was crying, she wondered? She soon learned what could not be explained over the phone. Her brother, Jose Arredondo had been killed. And in a very brutal fashion, his right ear mutilated, a fingernail pulled from its nail bed. He was stabbed in the back multiple times and beaten to death. His lifeless body found by a maid the morning of July 16, 2019 in the living room of his condominium in Cabo San Lucas. Laura was beyond stunned.
"Never, never crossed my mind that it was going to be something so hurtful, so horrible," she said. "It was like they ripped the carpet under me; everything just shattered."
One year later things have changed, yet they remain the same. Jose was Laura's big brother, the one who built a string of successful car dealerships and other businesses.
Laura was right there; she helped manage them. Brother and sister were very close as family, business associates and expanding into charitable work as a way to give back to their adopted community. Jose, Laura and their other siblings came from humble beginnings with little to no formal education.
But it's been a painful year.
"Even though my oldest brothers don't say anything, I can see the hurt in their faces," said Laura. Each has a way of expressing their hurt and anger of losing their brother. Laura has a portrait of Jose hanging in one of her bedrooms, which is therapeutic. "I go into that room and cry and scream, you know? Why? Why? Why? Other times I tell him how much I miss him and that I wish he would walk in and say, 'I'm here.'"
The question remains: Who killed 61-year-old Jose Arredondo? And why? One man was arrested shortly after the murder. The State Attorney General's office of Baja California Sur has charged Roberto Martinez Gonzalez with Arredondo's murder. During a court hearing, Martinez Gonzalez denied he was the killer, claiming that the day after Arredondo's murder, he was kidnapped and tortured by agents of the State Attorney General's office in an attempt to get him to confess to killing Arredondo.
That was followed by a slew of bizarre activity, including allegations by others unrelated to Gonzalez who claimed they too were kidnapped, tortured and intimidated by Mexican law enforcement into implicating Martinez Gonzalez as the murderer of Jose Arredondo.
The suspect is a friend of Jose Arredondo. But Laura isn't buying it. She is critical of the investigation and believes numerous people are involved in the killing of her brother, who was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Being that this murder took place on foreign soil adds to the frustration because in Mexico, solving a murder is an exception, not the rule.
How many people are involved and who is the person who ordered the killing? For what reason? The family requested the FBI's help, but were turned down, according to Laura. She relies on a higher power for help to solve this case.
"It will be on God's time, not mine and I know it will be the right time," she said.
The widow of Jose Arredondo, also named Laura, said through her attorney that she is not making any statements at this time.
The suspect in custody is scheduled to go to trial next month and he maintains his innocence. With the FBI refusing to get involved, Laura Arredondo is appealing to anyone who may have information about her brother's death to come forward.
"Let me know because that will be the only way we can make a difference," said Laura. "The only thing I can say is may God forgive the people who did this."