MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Minutes before he died on September 16, Roy Blanco’s last words were, “What did I do?”
Blanco shouted them to a border patrol agent as the agent moved in to detain him.READ MORE: Officials: Man On American Airlines Flight From Guatemala Hitched Ride To Miami Inside Plane's Landing Gear
Police believe Blanco knew exactly what he did. He was suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend, Tonya Gonzalez early on the morning of September 10th, stashing her body in the trunk of her car and then renting a 25-foot Carolina Skiff hoping to disappear before the 28-year-old woman’s body was found.
Blanco left the Coconut Grove marina with a few bags of belongings, his 61-year-old mother, Marta, and their Siberan husky.
Twenty miles from Florida’s southernmost point, they ran out of gas. An off-duty Coast Guardsman on a Jet Ski stumbled upon the unlikely pair off Sugarloaf Key and towed them to a boat ramp 11 miles from Key West.
“We are going to Key West,” Blanco told border patrol agents, according to never before seen video of the encounter taken from the dashboard camera of a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy.
Although Blanco claimed he was headed to Key West, deputies and agents gathered at the ramp didn’t believe Blanco.
At the time they suspected they had stumbled onto a Cuban smuggling operation.
“This is possibly being used for smuggling,” one of the agents is heard saying on the dashboard camera video.
Agents searched the boat; ran Blanco and his mother’s name in their computer for warrants; they even called the boat rental company.
“The owner of the catamaran, of the business would like to press charges against Roy,” the sheriff’s dispatcher tells the deputy at the ramp.
“Copy it was stolen out of Miami, it would have to be within their jurisdiction,” the deputy replied. “And it’s going to be a rental so it would more than likely be a civil matter if anything.”
The deputy held onto the boat but let the pair go – but not before federal agents took these pictures of them holding forms explaining the penalties for human smuggling.
Between September 11th and September 16th, Blanco and his mother wandered the area around Big Coppitt Key. With the help of Monroe Sheriff’s Detective Manny Cuervo, CBS4 News has pieced together the final days, hours and minutes of Roy Blanco’s life and death in the Florida Keys.
Cuervo said he believes Blanco and his mother were headed to Cuba when they ran out of gas.
“Our indication, our assumptions at this point based on everything we have is probably yes, they were trying to escape to Cuba,” said Cuervo.
Blanco and his mother were originally from Cuba and came to the United States approximately ten years ago.
Cuervo said they believe Blanco and his mother spent most of their time hiding in an empty house less than a mile off the main road.
On September 15th, Miami Police declared Blanco a person of interest in Tanya’s disappearance. Once they did, deputies distributed hundreds of flyers up and down the Keys, paying particular attention to the area where Blanco was last seen.READ MORE: Assisted Living Facility In Lauderhill May Lose License After Woman Dies
Dwayne Day, who operates a kayak stand on Shark Key, spotted Blanco and his mother the next day walking down the road. He jumped on his bicycle and started following them while calling 911.
“And I said they are like 25 feet in front of me. They heard me and they turned around and they ran into the bushes,” Day recalled.
Cuervo showed us the exact spot.
“They are crouched down sitting behind this patch of bushes right here,” Cuervo said.
Within a minute law enforcement swarmed in. A border patrol agent was the first to spot him.
“Blanco turns to him and says, `What did I do?’” Cuervo said. “And at that point the customs agent sees a bottle of pills and some water in Blanco’s hand – he’s trying to ingest the pills.”
The agent dove headlong at Blanco
“Knocks the pill bottle and the water out of his hand and grabs his mouth to prevent him from swallowing the pills,” Cuervo said. “At that point a little struggle ensues where the agent has to take him down to the ground.”
A second border agent and a sheriff’s detective came running in.
Blanco’s mother was just a couple of feet away, ingesting her own bottle of pills.
“They were right there next to each other,” Cuervo said.
Once handcuffed, Blanco was brought to his feet.
“The agent lifted his shirt up and sees that there is a knife sticking in his belly it was an Oh S moment,” he said.
“It was probably an accidental stabbing,” he said.
Blanco kept the steak knife in his belt and he may have tried to grab it in the struggle.
“The knife when it’s coming up the tip of it catches on the edge of the belly button and the belly button acts as a wedge,” Cuervo said. “At that same moment he’s hitting the ground and it’s going in his belly.”
While Blanco died from his stab wound, his mother survived her attempted overdose. Curevo, along with homicide detectives from Miami, spoke to her in the hospital a few days later. By then, Tanya’s body had already been found. Blanco’s mother claimed to know nothing about it.
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