After allegedly savagely beating his bloodied fiancée, then leaving her to die, police say, the killer tried and failed to kill himself.
Fabina Maliza, 24, allegedly committed the first murder in New York City this year when he snatched the life of 19-year-old Joceline Romo on Friday night.
Maliza tried slashing his left wrist in a futile effort to end his life moments after the attack, law enforcement sources said. The slash wounds would later be deemed “superficial.”
However “distraught,” as police called him, Maliza had the wherewithal to seek help.
Rather than call 911 to summon an ambulance and possibly resuscitate Romo, sources said Maliza chose to leave the apartment to dial his stepfather. “Goodbye,” he told him.
A heated quarrel may have triggered Maliza’s brutal attack on the young woman, who detectives later determined was badly bruised and bloodied, including in her lower bowel area, the sources said. She had hemorrhaging in her neck and suffered what a police source told The Daily Beast was “ten or more blows to the head.”
The city’s Medical Examiner on Jan. 2 determined Romo died of “homicidal violence including blunt force trauma of head and compression of neck.”
Her demise came not long after she had told the world that she was about to walk down the aisle. Just two days before Christmas, Romo had been swooning after posting on her Facebook Page that she “Got Engaged.”
The same day, Romo posted a loving, ad hoc note outing her crush on the man who appears to be her fiancé. Profile pics of her and Maliza are overlayed upon a black background with bubbly capital letters reading “Te amo eres mi vida,” which means, “I love you. You are my life.”
The note now reads more like an effigy, as does her profile photo, featuring the couple playing semi-tender, semi-serious in repose.
Her abbreviated New York story is fit with what appears to be visits to the Statue of Liberty and also long, gazing snaps of the skyline in various visual odes. Only a year ago, a wide-eyed Romo was in Ecuador, often taking selfies without her lover Maliza.
After the tragic news traveled to her native Ecuador, Joceline’s older sister Elizabeth Romo updated her profile picture.
The image inspired friends to chime in. “I’m so sorry my queen beautiful be strong your little sis is in a better place,” posted Katty Borja.
Karmensita Sameniego also added: “She was a little girl super quiet. I love you so much friend…”
On her last night alive, she decided to spend it with her new fiancé.
The pair had been partying hard on New Year’s Eve, law enforcement sources said.
Maliza, who was known by those who knew him as Andrias, showed up with Romo at a friend’s party nearby at around 9:30 p.m.
They reveled well into the early morning the following day, before calling it quits at 4 a.m., the sources said. Interviews conducted with the party’s host confirmed that they were enjoying themselves and showed no signs of discord.
The couple eventually returned to their street-level Queens apartment on 86th Street near 91st Avenue in Woodhaven. The two had shared their home, a chopped-up subdivision where they rented a bedroom and shared a common space with other tenants, for the past two months.
But after leaving their friends, Maliza and Romo bickered and the night went south, sources said. Maliza told cops, according to sources, that the two decided to turn in around 5 a.m.
When he woke around 7 p.m. on New Year’s Day, according to the story Maliza told detectives, he discovered his girlfriend lying next to him lifeless, face down on their bed with an open bottle of prescription pills next to her.
He rushed to make the phone call to his stepdad, who, the source said, disregarded the goodbye as a legitimate suicide warning and told Maliza to meet him a few street blocks away from the home on Jamaica Avenue.
Maliza met up with his stepdad and together they returned to the apartment. The stepdad immediately called 9-1-1 at around 10:45 p.m.
Maliza’s sequence of events initially led police to believe that Romo overdosed. That was until authorities rolled her body over and found the slashes on the back of her hands—along with, sources said, blood spatter on the floor. All three said, the source, are consistent with signs of struggle.
Detectives initially quizzed Maliza at the scene and en route to get his self-inflicted wrist injuries treated at nearby Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Once he was given the all-clear, sources said Maliza made “culpable statements” about what happened that night.
Witnesses back at the crime scene didn’t hear or see anything that night. There had been no fights recorded or any domestic incidents at the address, the sources said.
Maliza has remained in custody at a psychiatric ward where there were “multiple scratches about the body” and “swelling to his right hand,” according to sources familiar with his status.
The accused remains institutionalized, but is expected to be arraigned on second-degree murder charges, officials with the Queens District Attorney’s office said.
It is unclear how long either Romo or Maliza had been in the U.S. Calls and emails to the attache at the Ecuadorian Embassy were not immediately returned.