Victims of Workplace Violence: Eridania Rodriguez
Eridania Rodriguez, 46, was a wife, mother of three, and grandmother. She immigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York in the 1980s. She was working as a cleaning woman in a Manhattan high-rise office building and had expressed recent fears about working after business hours in such a large building with desolate offices.
In July of 2009, she did not show up for her regular dinner with co-workers. They knew something was wrong when they found her abandoned cleaning cart on the 8th floor and her clothes and belongings still in her locker. After a four-day long search, her body was found bound and gagged in an air duct of the 26-story building. Thorough surveillance tape review led police to their prime suspect- Joseph Pabon, an elevator operator in the building. When police questioned him he had fingerprint shaped bruises and scratch marks on his arms and neck. His DNA was also found under the victim’s fingernails indicating a struggle took place. “He senselessly and brutally murdered her and discarded her body as if it were trash,” District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.
Pabon had been arrested prior to this horrific crime for choking his girlfriend and smashing her car windshield in with a bowling ball. He had a history of violent behavior and uncontrollable anger. Last summer he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of Mrs. Rodriguez. He had worked at this particular building for a few years and it was clear that his history of unlawful behavior was not taken into consideration upon his employment.
“My mother was a person full of positive thoughts,” Ms. Figueroa, Rodriguez’s 29 year old daughter, said. “I miss seeing her, spending time with her. I miss her voice, her laughs.” Ms. Figueroa said she was haunted by thoughts of her mother’s “horrible, disgusting death.” She said she was afraid to be among strangers, had lost most of her hair to stress, and had difficulty giving her best to her own children.
This story is different from the rest in that it took place in the workplace, not at home. However, this shows how a lack of screening employees can also affect you at work. You spend as much or more time with your co-workers than you do at home or with family in a lot of cases. Unknowingly working alongside criminals after business hours in an isolated high-rise is a recipe for disaster. Mrs. Rodriguez had been feeling uneasy for quite a while and felt she should not be working there any longer. Her instincts were right on.
- Once again, trust those instincts! Recognizing signs of danger and not removing yourself from the situation can lead to an incredibly tragic situation.
- When applying for jobs, check to see if your potential employer is background screening their applicants. If they don’t screen you, they are most likely not screening anyone. Depending on the type of work and hours you’ll be working, you need to make a judgement call. This also applies when applying to live in an apartment complex or building.
Previous Posts in this series:
Post : + Intro
Post: Ask a friend over for coffee
Post: Trust is earned