Why We Need Transparency on Illegal Immigrant Crime
Public kept in the dark about legal status of serial Florida rapist who eluded capture for years
The best example of the dire need for an accounting of the crimes committed by illegal immigrants is right in President Trump’s Florida backyard — just a few miles from lovely Mar-a-Lago.
Baltazar Gabriel Delgado-Ros, a citizen of Guatemala, was living in Palm Beach County, Florida, illegally from 2009-2011 when he jumped, beat, bit, choked, and viciously raped five women. One died within a few weeks of the rape, and her family has said they believe the brutal rape led directly to her death.
The willful withholding of information about this brutal rapist’s immigration status is evidence enough of the need for Trump’s list of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Delgado-Ros is the worst serial rapist in the history of Palm Beach County.
Most people haven’t heard of this guy, because local news media hid the truth about him. In no newspaper article in the Palm Beach Post or Sun-Sentinel was the public told that the rapist was an illegal immigrant. In headlines, he was usually referred to as “a Lake Worth man.” A soft lie.
Lake Worth is a lovely, historic beachfront town in Palm Beach County, Florida, just south of West Palm Beach. The area has attracted many thousands of poor, mostly illiterate immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti and other countries like Honduras. Most are here illegally. Many come here because family or friends from their home village are already here — and because we have in our town a place called the Guatemala-Maya Center, originally established to help Guatemalans fleeing their county’s civil war, which ended in 1996. Staff at the center help Guatemalans who are here illegally find housing and work (under-the-table work, presumably) and sign them up for government benefits, including food stamps. The center also provides legal services to them free of charge.
Serial rapist Delgado-Ros' first residence in Palm Beach County was in Jupiter, Florida. He was living with family members there when he committed his first violent rape.
It happened the night of April 9, 2009. A 21-year-old was walking by herself near the 200 block of Old Dixie Highway in Jupiter, talking on her cellphone with her boyfriend. Delgado-Ros attacked from behind with his shirt over his head, grabbing her by the shoulders and throwing her to the ground. She screamed. He took her cellphone and broke it, and yelled at her to "Shut the f*** up." She continued to scream. So he kicked her and punched her with his fists, and then covered her nose and mouth, until she almost passed out. Then he raped her.
He committed his second violent rape on July 24, 2009, when he broke into the home of a 26-year-old woman living in an apartment in Palm Springs, Florida, in central Palm Beach County. The woman woke up at 3 a.m. to see a man next to her bed. He told her, "Shut the f*** up bitch I kill you," pressed a knife to her neck with one hand and choked her with the other hand while he raped her. After struggling at first, the woman complied to protect her two-year-old daughter and her mother who were sleeping in the home. The DNA found inside the woman matched the DNA taken from the young woman who'd been attacked in Jupiter three months earlier.
On Aug. 8, 2009, a few minutes after midnight, a 53-year-old woman living in West Palm Beach went out on her front porch to have a cigarette. She was attacked from behind, with a paint scraper pressed to her neck. The man dragged her to the side of the house where he screamed at her to take her clothes off. When she didn't, he "beat her to the point that she was unrecognizable," to quote directly from the probable cause affidavit. Then he raped her while she drifted in and out of consciousness. During the attack, he stole two rings off her fingers, cutting one of her fingers to get the ring off. The woman was hospitalized after the attack, and rushed into surgery. She died two weeks later. Her family says she died as a result of the attack, though the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says the medical examiner's report did not find that the attack caused her death. The DNA found inside the woman was the same as in the two previous attacks. It was later confirmed to be the DNA of Baltazar Gabriel Delgado-Ros.
On Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, a 58-year-old Asian woman walking to work at McDonald's in the early morning along a major road in central Palm Beach County was approached from behind. The man told her to take her pants off or he would kill her. When she said no, he beat her face and head until she lost consciousness. The police found her that morning at 8:30 a.m. A number of bones in her face had been broken and she'd suffered head trauma and bleeding on the brain. And she'd been raped. The DNA found inside her was later found to be Delgado-Ros'.
On Sept. 23, 2011, a young woman was speed-walking along a major road while listening to her iPod at about 6 a.m. when Delgado-Ros grabbed her from behind, pulled her onto the grass next to the sidewalk, covered her nose and mouth, bit her finger, bit the side of her face and commanded her to take her pants off, speaking with a heavy Spanish accent. The woman pleaded with him in Spanish, saying: "Listen to me, please." He replied: "Shut up and take off your pants." He held his elbow on her neck and she lost consciousness. After the attack, he made off with her purse. The DNA found inside her was the same as in the other victims. It belonged to Delgado-Ros.
Detective Lori Gunn of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the fact that the rapist was here illegally made it hard for investigators to find him. They knew who they were looking for, but couldn't locate him.
Incredibly, Delgado-Ros was able to fly out of Miami International Airport on Oct. 8, 2011, and return to Guatemala, where he then proceeded to rape a child.
While in Palm Beach County, h lived a few yards away from a commuter rail station, where high school students who attend an arts school wait for their train every morning, and a short distance from a Montessori preschool.
It took 2.5 years for the United States to extradite Delgado-Ros from Guatemala — and even then, the media, with the exception of one television station, would not identify him as an illegal immigrant.
Delgado-Ros was finally tried for one of the rapes last year, and convicted. Did you hear about it?
I bet not.
Again, neither the Palm Beach Post, nor the Sun-Sentinel, and none of our local television stations identified him as an illegal alien, though the subject of illegal immigration was one of the top issues in this last year's campaign and the conviction came on Oct. 27 — just 12 days before the Nov. 8 election.
The willful withholding of information about this brutal rapist's immigration status is evidence enough of the need for President Trump's list of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Margaret Menge is a professional journalist living in Palm Beach County, Florida. She has contributed to the Columbia Journalism Review, U.S. News & World Report, and the New York Observer, and edited small newspapers in Florida and New York. She's now an editor for United Press International.