On July 10, 2001, a Filipino family of three was found murdered inside their residence in New South Wales, Australia. Initial reports suggest that the crime was racially motivated. However, investigators found out that a family member was behind in one of the most gruesome murders in Australia.
The Gonzales family consisted of Teddy, Mary, Sef, and Clodine.
On a typical afternoon, while Clodine was studying in her bedroom, she was attacked viciously and swiftly—hit at least six times across the head with a baseball bat, and was then strangled. Each blow left blood spatters across the walls and furnishings as well as dents from the bat in the wall.
As if that wasn’t enough, she was also stabbed five times in the neck and twice in the abdomen. Two knives were used by the killer—the longest and sharpest from the block in the kitchen. This attacker really wanted her to die. And he didn’t stop there.
About an hour later, Mary arrived home from the office. She worked with her husband, Teddy, in his legal practice. The attacker, seemingly expecting her, struck her the moment she entered the house. Mary ended up with multiple stab wounds to her face, neck, chest, and abdomen. An aggressive slash to her windpipe was the final blow. She was left in a pool of her own blood.
The attacker was far from done.
Teddy arrived a few moments after Mary. Like her, Teddy was also swiftly struck by the attacker just after entering the house. Teddy was stabbed in the neck, chest, and abdomen as well. The wounds he suffered were much deeper and vicious; clearly, the strikes were more aggressive and powerful on him, that his spinal cord was partially severed.
Sef Gonzales was a student at Macquarie University and worked part-time as a paralegal at his father’s law firm. After being out with a friend, he came home to a blood-soaked scene wherein his family was murdered. He saw the words “Fuck off Asians KKK” spray-painted on the wall. Sef then called for help, saying that his family had been shot and that there was a lot of blood.
The authorities arrived, not knowing that they have been played by the one who would end up being known as “The Baby-faced Killer.”
The following were Sef’s statements regarding the murder of his family:
"As I walked in, I saw my father lying there. I went to him and I kneeled down and I think at that stage I was screaming for my mother for some reason. I was also screaming for my father, I was screaming, 'Papa!' I was holding him, I was trying to hug him, I was trying to wake him up. I ran to my mother, I was hugging her, and trying to wake her as well. My first instinct was to try and resuscitate her in some way.” Upon looking for his sister, “When I opened the door I hit something. I think it may have been part of my sister's body. I slowly pushed the door open, afraid if she was in a fragile position I might hurt her."
Sef’s statements didn’t fit the time and manner of his sister’s death. According to him, “There was blood gushing from her side. I tried to stop it by using my hands." Blood doesn’t gush if one has already been dead for quite some time. The authorities found only fine smears of blood on Sef’s clothing, not the soaking kind that is expected from the gushing of blood that Sef supposedly tried to stop.
A robbery gone wrong was what authorities thought had happened, but there was no sign of forced entry to the house and no signs of searching around the house. It was found that the family had died over a three-hour period; which suggests that it couldn’t have been a robbery since robbers rarely hang around at a crime scene for that long.
Sef suggested that a Philippine businessman may have been behind the murders, but there wasn’t any evidence to support that claim. Experience dictates that in domestic cases of murder, the prime suspects are usually those closest to the victims.
In the days after the murders, Sef appeared in the media, begging the killer or killers to come forward and pleading for the New South Wales (NSW) government to offer a reward. He gave the eulogy at the funeral then performed an a capella rendition of the Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men duet One Sweet Day, while standing over the coffins of his butchered family.
Sef’s alibi was that he was with his friend, Sam Deilio (who neither knew or was told anything about the murders) and went around the city. After dropping Sam off, Sef returned home. He called police to say he had discovered the bodies on his arrival at the house, and that he had chased off intruders. The authorities debunked his alibi after being told that Sef’s car was in the driveway at the time of the murders; in which, Sef concocted a second alibi, claiming he left his car at home, got in a taxi, then went to a brothel. This alibi was also debunked.
Sef was driven to murder his family due to the pressure of being unlikely to live up to his parent’s hopes of him becoming a doctor or lawyer. Sef attempted to cover up his academic failures by falsifying results, which his parents eventually found out about. His parents threatened to take his car and other privileges he enjoyed unless his academic performance improved.
His initial plan was to poison his family. He had been researching poisonous seeds and plants online. He slipped those seeds in his mother’s food which led her to be admitted to the hospital due to food poisoning. She survived that one time.
On the day of the murders, the poisonous plants were found in a container in his room. His internet search history also solidified the fact that he did, in fact, had a motive to kill.
Days after the murders, Sef was found to have been visiting his father’s accountant to check on the investments. Months later, he was seen in a luxury car. He also moved into a luxury high-rise apartment. The police arrived at his apartment and arrested him for murder.
He was found guilty of the murder of his family and was sentenced to three concurrent life terms.
Do you want to know about a politician cult leader who apparently killed his own wife? Check out The Killing of Alona Bacolod-Ecleo and the Bacolod Family Massacre episode of PH Murder Stories.
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