Eddie has been traveling to Bahia de los Angeles for more than 40 years. He rents a home there. Like many other Americans who live part-time in Baja California, Eddie is mostly retired. He goes to Mexico to fish and relax and do nothing.
But now Eddie is fearful. Two of his neighbors in Mexico were killed recently. Jo Anne Butler, 69, and Ray Ball, 72 were found deceased in their home in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 2. Like Eddie, they were Americans who lived part-time in Mexico.
“I confronted two guys, two nights before.” Before the deadly night, Eddie had his own confrontation. His encounter was on a Wednesday night not long after midnight. “I was in the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s dark, I heard them talking,” Eddie remembered. “The motion detector light came on and they were walking past the house, talking, towards the beach.”
Thinking about it later, Eddie wondered if the two men might have first looked at some things that were right next to his home, some equipment there. “Right there, between the house and the garage, and then they went to the little boat on the beach.”
Eddie keeps a small aluminum boat on the beach, immediately in front of his house. “It was above the high tide mark, the anchor is up on the beach and in the dirt.”
That night, Eddie quickly put on some clothing. Because he slept “nekked.” He walked quietly through his home, “And looked through the front window, on the beach side, and there is somebody with lights on my boat. It was lights on my little boat, the boat was lit up, I couldn’t see them.”
“And I could hear them talking. They were just standing out there talking, like they thought everybody was deaf or something.” The men were speaking Spanish. He estimated they were 20 or 30 feet from his home. “And I lit them up with a flashlight. I went out and asked Que quiere? Which is ‘What do you want?’ They said gasolina and agua. And I said no.” And then the two men started walking away, down the beach.
“They did not look familiar.” Eddie said he would not be able to identify them if he saw them again. “If I was gonna guess I would say they were in their 30s. Not high school kids or anything like that.”
It was days later, during the day, when “I found out they cut the anchor line. Two days later when I went to pull the boat, to put it away, I saw the anchor line was cut. There’s no doubt in my mind these were part of the bad guys who done it.”
Later Eddie spoke with his neighbors who told him: “They went to Rosie’s place the same night, they asked for a ride into town. They knocked on Rosie’s door, she lives with Pepe. When Pepe came to the door, they said they wanted a ride into town, in the middle of the night, and Pepe said no. Clearly casing.”
Eddie was not shocked that there were persons looking to steal something. Even though, “I have not had anything stolen,” others who live around the bay have had things taken. “Somebody broke into Ray’s house five years ago and stole a truck and other stuff.” Ray and Jo Anne were not there at their home at that time. “Somebody broke into Lupe’s house last year, and stole a bunch of tools and things. Someone has broken into Manuelita’s house before. They are usually looking for radios, cameras, binoculars, things they can sell easily. The normal modus operandi is stealing stuff that is easily carried off and sold at swap meets.”
“My house is three or four miles out of town, so I don’t come in contact with the local drunks.” Eddie thinks the stealing was due to just a handful of trouble makers. “There are some local people who have a reputation for being sleazebags and stealing things. Maybe four or five guys.”
Eddie feels familiar with the situation around there. “Been going down there over 40 years, have had a house there 16 years, a rental.” Eddie does not have a signed contract or any special arrangement with the owner of that home on the bay. “There’s no papers, you just pay every year.”
There are a lot of Americans who live on the beach around Bahia de Los Angeles, which lies on the Sea of Cortez 417 miles from San Diego, halfway down the peninsula. “Probably a thousand of them, altogether. They come and go at different times of the year. Some of them rent, some people own their houses. There is probably 20 miles of shoreline.”
This year, 2018, Eddie arrived in mid-April. So he was well settled in and was in his regular routine six weeks later, the first of June.
Leave the radio on
June 1 was a typical Friday morning. “The plan is that there is no plan,” explains Eddie. “Probably at least half the people have a boat. Fishing is a big deal down there. Not when it is too windy, you can’t get out. When the yellowtail are running, a lot of people are out, a lot of chatter on the radio.”
That’s why Eddie keeps a boat there. But was wasn’t fishing that day. “I don’t remember why.”
There is no cell phone service on the bay, so everybody uses VHF radio to communicate. “When someone is on the radio, everyone in the bay can hear that conversation. But see, people turn their radios off at night. Which I am not going to do anymore.”
That June morning, “It was a nice day. It was sunny. Got up about 6:30 to 7. I made coffee, sit on the back porch.” Typically he would go for a walk. “For about 25 minutes, then go back and have breakfast.”
Or he might not go for a walk. “Depends on the wind and the tide. If the tide is too high there is no beach. Usually the wind blows out of the north. If it’s too windy I don’t walk, too uncomfortable. It can blow really hard down there. Everything revolves around the wind down there. People stay inside when it is too windy.” Although, “If you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes,” it will change.