Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

"Maternal Instinct"

"Bumbling Idiots"

The first problem the three killers faced after the murder was disposing of Pati's body. The original plan had been to kill her in the desert, not in the room. Now they were afraid someone would see them if they moved her, so they decided to hide the body in the room.

Mobsters on television always wrap their victims in plastic, so Murillo and Balignasa went to a nearby store in search of trash bags. Unfortunately for them, they picked a store with 30 video surveillance cameras.

"They were bumbling idiots," said homicide Detective David Mesinar.

After the two men returned to the room, Hironaga helped them bind Pati into a tight ball with coaxial cable they ripped from the television and a pair of jumper cables. Then, after bundling her in a bedsheet and covering her with a heavy-duty garbage bag, they removed the air conditioner's return air vent and stuffed her into the duct inside the wall.

At 6:30 a.m., 9:30 on the East Coast, Diana Hironaga called her spymaster, Christopher Moseley, at Serendip and left a message on an answering machine: "Step five is finished. Mission completed."

The next day, Moseley sent Hironaga two first class, roundtrip tickets to Philadelphia. At the airport, Moseley's chauffer met them and handed Hironaga and Murillo a package containing $15,000 in cash, five thousand for her and ten thousand for Murillo and Balignasa. The pair caught the next plane back to Vegas.

Three days later, a maintenance man at the Del Mar Motel discovered Pati's body.

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