A Collection Fratricide Cases in Hispanics

December 7, 2017

This poster was presented at the 30th annual  Psych Congress, held Sept. 16-19, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Fratricide; a catastrophic intra-familial violent event, is not well studied in Hispanics. In a series of four (4) anecdotally reported fratricide cases in Puerto Rico (PR) over an 18MO. period, a prior history of substance abuse, financial tension, arguments/emotional volatility and subtle signs of depression preceded each event. When compared to other ethnic groups, fratricide cases are less frequent in Hispanics, occurring more frequently in African Americans (66%) followed by Caucasians (32%). In this case collection, both perpetrators and victims were older than 20 years old as in most literature reports, however, there were unusual characteristics such as cross gender cases, a wide variety of lethal methods were used, ranging from firearms to stabbing and two cases were followed by suicide. A precipitant stressor catalyst was present proximally in all cases, within 24-48 hrs. All cases occurred in rural areas of the island were mental health and substance abuse services would be less accessible, as well as other social services that could have identified warning signs, or have a preventive impact In summary; we found that cases of sibling on sibling homicide in Hispanics of PR origin occur in spite of it being a predominantly catholic culture where tolerance and forgiveness teachings are paramount although less frequently than reported in African Americans and Caucasians. Familial tension (finances/illness), older age, and living in a rural environment were present in all cases. Ready access to social services, mental health and substance abuse identification of early warning signs may have prevented these events.

Maria Gabriela Velasco, BA; Angel J. Rossy, BA; Jose Edwin Nieves, MD
Forensic Psychiatry