May 8, 2020 | News | No Comments
PORTLAND, OR – Take a look at the woman in the picture. Her name is Coral Rodriguez-Lorenzo. She was 38 years old when she was found murdered on Sunday, Oct. 29. Two days later, her husband was arrested and charged with killing her.
Now, as Rodriguez-Lorenzo’s family prepares to bury her, her murder has become a political football in a dispute between Oregon and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At the center of the dispute is Oregon’s longtime standing as a “sanctuary state.”
Oregonians passed a law 31 years ago that says local law enforcement will use resources to find or arrest people whose only crime is a violation of immigration law.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has used Oregon as a punching bag to argue for changes to immigration law.
In the case of the murder of Rodriguez-Lorenzo, her husband – 45-year-old Martin Gallo-Gallardo – is giving ICE new ammunition to attack Oregon and its sanctuary law.
ICE says that he is a Mexican immigrant who entered the United States illegally. They claim that when he was arrested in March on charges that he had assaulted his wife, they placed an immigration hold on him.
They say that if the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office had honored it, Rodriguez-Lorenzo might still be alive.
ARREST IN MARCH
On March 4, around 4:30 a.m., the couple’s eldest daughter called police to the family’s Southeast Portland home after her father allegedly began beating her mother in a drunken rage.
According to court documents describing the incident, Gallo-Gallardo came home drunk and angry with bruises forming on his face after attending a party with Rodriguez-Lorenzo.
His daughter told police he complained about Rodriguez-Lorenzo dancing with one of her uncles at the party, but when Gallo-Gallardo tried in intervene in the dancing a fight ensued and he was ultimately forced to leave.
Now with his daughter in tow, Gallo-Gallardo returned to the party to retrieve Rodriguez-Lorenzo.
On their way home, Gallo-Gallardo and Rodriguez-Lorenzo began arguing, the daughter said. During the argument, her father reportedly pulled out one of her mother’s earrings.
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Back at home, the couple’s daughter reportedly went inside and collected her younger siblings while Gallo-Gallardo and Rodriguez-Lorenzo remained in the car outside.
All huddled together, the kids then listened as their parents’ shouting continued inside the house, documents state.
During interviews with officers, each of the children reported hearing the sound of their father hitting their mother for roughly 10 to 15 minutes, until Rodriguez-Lorenzo was able to lock herself inside a bathroom.
After interviewing the children police tried to interview Rodriguez-Lorenzo, but she reportedly refused to speak — even after officers acknowledged the welts and bruises forming across her face.
Gallo-Gallardo, too drunk and incoherent to be interviewed, was subsequently arrested and later released on bail, documents show.
Roughly eight days later, a grand jury voted not to hand up an indictment in the case. Rodriguez-Lorenzo had indicated she was not interesting in pursuing the case.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office says that they had done everything they could to prosecute Gallo-Gallardo.
“We issued charges following his arrest and took the case to grand jury,” the spokesman for the office, Brent Weisberg, tells Patch.
“We provided the victim and family, through our Victim Assistance Program, resources for victims of domestic violence and offered all of them safety planning resources.”
SHERIFF’S OFFICE RESPONDS
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese’s office points out that even if they had received an immigration hold from ICE – which they say that they didn’t – Oregon law would have prevented them from acting on it.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office knows this, ICE knows this, but they persist in pursuing this failed strategy,” the sheriff’s office says. “Federal officials had ample time to do their job. They had his name, address, and his telephone number.
“It is disingenuous to make this claim when they failed to follow the process for even entering the civil detainer information into any law enforcement database.”
The sheriff’s office says they don’t know why Rodriguez-Lorenzo didn’t want to cooperate in March, “but we know that many immigrant victims of domestic violence are concerned about how reporting will affect their status and status their children.”
Reese’s office says that ICE needs to look into the mirror if it wants to find who is to blame.
“ICE is putting our community at risk with their failed enforcement strategy of not using the authority the agency already has to hold people accountable,” they say.
FAMILY TRIES TO MOVE FORWARD
On Tuesday Rodriguez-Lorenzo’s family created a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the cost of a funeral. Setup with a $10,000 goal, the campaign has raised $2,620 as of this writing.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, direct them to the following resources based on the area in which they live:
Patch’s Travis Loose contributed greatly to this story.
Photo of Coral Rodriguez-Lorenzo, via GoFundMe, a Patch partner.