A tragic scene played out when a teenage boy was murdered after stopping a horrific attack on his mother. The boy, identified by the family as 15-year-old Julio Rodriguez of Austin, MN, intervened when he found his stepfather choking his mom in their bedroom.
Julio’s five younger siblings were hiding during the incident and were unharmed.
Authorities say that one of the younger kids ran to get Julio when the stepfather and his wife began arguing in their room. The teenager kicked in the door and discovered his 27-year-old stepfather, Jaime Vaca, with his hands around his mother’s throat. Police say that when Julio stepped in, his mother begged Vaca not to hurt them. Vaca grabbed a knife and fatally stabbed the boy.
Vaca allegedly stabbed his wife as well. When officers arrived, they found her outside with a knife wound to her neck. They found Julio bleeding out on a couch.
Julio was initially rushed to a local hospital, then transferred to the Mayo Clinic, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to save the young man who acted the most heroically of anyone yesterday,” said Austin Police Chief David McKichan in a Facebook post. “All of us wanted a different outcome for him. What he did in the defense of his family was incredible and should be recognized. His love for his mother and his siblings was proven without a doubt and all who responded and have knowledge of the investigation were moved by his actions. He saved their lives.”
Police found Vaca, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault, hiding in a bathroom, holding a knife. When he refused to drop it, officers took him down with a stun gun.
Authorities located the five little kids upstairs. Detectives say that, after he stabbed Julio, Vaca apparently kissed all the other kids goodbye because he intended to kill himself. According to the Associated Press, when a detective told Vaca that Julio had died, Vaca said, “I’m a murderer.”
Vaca told police he had been arguing with his wife over a job he’d recently quit.
In his Facebook post, Chief McKichan said that Julio’s murder was “one of the most challenging and tragic calls I can recall in our city’s history.”