Paola Gallo was vivacious, young, dark-haired beauty. She was gregarious and seemed to always be surrounded by a gaggle of friends. She loved to sing, volunteered to work at orphanages, and was well on her way to Master’s degree in psychoanalysis. After going away for the weekend with some friends, her father realized how fast his world had changed when she went missing. Eduardo Gallo refused to let his daughter’s brutal kidnapping become just another forgotten case by the justice system. So, he took matters into his own hands and decided to solve it for himself, right up to the arrest of the alleged triggerman.
Paola Gallo was away with friends at her parent’s weekend home in Tepoztlan, a popular weekend spot for Mexico City’s well-to-do. She and her friends were all in their third year of graduate school and had earned some time to just relax and let their hair down for a bit.
A Group of men jumped the fence, fiercely broke into the house, and began to terrorize the group of vacationing college girls. Paola and her friends couldn’t stop them, and the worst was yet to come….
When they had finished their assault on the young women, the men stole jewelry, the two cars the girls had parked in the driveway, and kidnapped Paola in brazen fashion. It was a truly brazen act, and one that rarely occurred in such an affluent neighborhood, but it was hardly the only kidnapping in recent years.
Kidnapping in Mexico is big business these days and has been for the last few decades. It’s a notorious criminal enterprise usually undertaken by way of express jobs, such as grabbing people from taxis, emptying their bank accounts, and setting them free: to far more severe forms of capture where they demand the government and victims’ families pay them millions of dollars: such was the case with Paola Gallo.
Paying The Ransom
Her father, Eduardo Gallo, much like the relatives of hundreds of other kidnapping victims in Mexico, paid the $18,500 ransom to the kidnappers, along with jewelry and valuables he had in his home.
Waiting and Praying
For days after the initial kidnapping and money drop, Gallo and his family prayed that they would return Paola to them. They had given all they could and yet the kidnappers had not sent any word that they received the money, nor that they still had his daughter. He feared the worst and as it turned out, he was right to do so, seeing as he had realized only a week later what had happened to his daughter.
A week after Paola had been taken, the bodies of three men, suspected to have been her kidnappers, were found in a nearby town. It was the same town that they had dropped the ransom off in and in fact, two-thirds of the ransom money was still there, next to the bodies of the kidnappers.
Sadly, Paola’s body was also found not far from the bodies of her kidnappers. She had two gunshot wounds in her neck and back. Despite paying the ransom, Eduardo Gallo’s beautiful, smart, vivacious daughter was gone. Now all he wanted was to know who had killed his little girl, he wanted vengeance.
A rumor began flying around that the victim’s father, Eduardo Gallo had killed the three kidnappers in the ensuing bloodbath. It was an unfounded rumor, but it got Eduardo thinking…
Killed By Police
Of course, any such accusation against Gallo was immediately discounted by the police. But Gallo believed that it was the police who killed the gunman and split some of the money themselves so it looked like a rival gang shooting where Paola was caught in the crossfire. But how could he prove it?
In the end, he dismissed his initial theory in favor of a much more believable one. Gallo now believed that the kidnappers executed Paola in retribution for the police killing their three accomplices. Either way, there was one killer still at large, one kidnapper who had stolen the life right out from under his daughter and he was going to find them: even if the police didn’t.
According to Gallo, the police investigation following Paola’s death was a shoddy affair, rife with errors and clear evidence of police corruption. His point was only proved a few months after the bodies were found when one of the stolen cars was discovered and processed without a proper forensic test. It wasn’t until Gallo insisted on a thorough investigation that they found his daughter’s hairs in the car, important evidence in the case…
Hunt Them Down
Paola’s father was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of follow-through in his daughter’s case. It was then that he decided to solve the case on his own. Yet, even though he gave them countless clues, they did nothing with the information. He said, “I gave them details, and they did nothing, or they distorted the truth.”
He Leaves His Old Life Behind To Begin His New One
Opting to continue the investigation on his own, Gallo closed his consulting firm and turned himself into a novice detective. He was going to devote all of his time, his entire life, to finding his daughter’s killer and bringing him to justice: even if he had to administer that justice himself….
For months, Eduardo Gallo chased leads and pored over information about the case. He even managed to get ahold of cellular phone records, a difficult task in the year 2000, in order to track the killer down. Finally, after a year of tireless work, he cracked the case.
Orchestrating the Arrest
Gallo’s nearly yearlong pursuit and ceaseless detective work finally paid off when he helped the police set up an arrest of the suspected killer. In no time at all, he and the police had tracked the man down and put him into custody. But they still had to prove he was the right guy…
The man confessed to all the murders, including Paola’s. The prosecutors and police commanders were so impressed with Gallo’s work, that they gave him all the credit for bringing his daughter’s killer to justice, especially since he did so without resorting to violence.
“This man,” said Morelos state Police Chief Jose Agustin Montiel, “with much bravery, put aside all his own business and carried out the investigation.” After he was finished, there was still some catharsis needed for Eduardo Gallo, so he put out an emotionally-charged eulogy in a local newspaper…
His speech read, “I will always love you, my adored child,” he wrote. “Thank you for your smile and your caresses. Thank you for your songs and your happiness and your love of life. Thank you, beautiful daughter; you always lighted the path so I could distinguish between justice and vengeance. Thank you for being my inspiration for keeping my hands clean and my soul calm, the only way I can see you again.