Paulina Almonacid Rivera came home with her homework but anxiously awaiting the next day which marked her tenth birthday. Her mother, Erna Rivera Care, was furious with the girl for not reading the children’s book, “La Porota,” and in an infuriated rage she beat the girl to death. Police uncovered evidence the girl had been hit in the stomach, face, head and extremities, her arm was fractured and she was even hit with pieces of furniture. After the beating, the mother took the girl to a hospital where she claimed Paulina had fallen down a flight of stairs. Medical staff quickly ascertained the real cause of death and police soon arrived to arrest the mother for murder.
Police say Rivera had a prior history of abusing her children and actually Paulina had been living with relatives in order to escape her mother’s brutality. The girl’s stepfather had even brought the abuse to the attention of a Family Court but nothing was done to protect Paulina or the other children from an abusive mother.
Teachers acknowledged the girl had come to school with bruises and they had contacted the mother only to be put off with lame excuses about Paulina falling down. The real falling down is on the part of school authorities, the courts, and social services. Ironically, teachers said the little girl was a good student who did her work.