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The Lissette Ochoa domestic violence case was one of the best known cases of spousal abuse in Colombia because of the couple's elite social status and for the brutality of the battering perpetrated on Lissette Ochoa by her husband Rafael Dangond.


On July 29, 2006, Rafael Dangond and Lissette Ochoa attended a wedding party in the exclusive Country Club in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Dangond became aggressive after his wife Lissette was invited to dance by a group of friends who had traveled from Venezuela to attend the wedding, among them a young male who danced with her.[1] While Ochoa was dancing, some of the wedding guests recount seeing Dangond sitting alone at the table. He later walked towards the bathroom and then came out with reddened eyes, presumably caused by alcohol or drugs.[2] Apparently, Dangond became angry and jealous.[3]

Once she returned to her seat, Dangond immediately ordered his wife to exit the event and, once outside, Dangond began battering her and pushed her into their car where the beating continued at approximately 2:00 AM.[2] He drove the car erratically around the city while constantly hitting her for more than two hours. When they arrived home at approximately 4:00 AM, the violence continued. Ochoa desperately locked herself in a bathroom and used a cellphone to call her father, Jorge Álvaro Ochoa, who told her he was on his way to her apartment. She also warned him that her husband was armed and was yelling threats about killing himself, her, and her father. At this moment, Dangond knocked the door down, fired his weapon, and the bullet scratched his wife's armpit.[2]

When her father, Jorge Álvaro, arrived to their building, she had managed to exit the apartment building where she met with her father, who recounted looking at her as if she had been a character from the film The Exorcist. Her eyes were purple and swollen, her upper lip was basically touching her nose, and she had come out crawling.[4] Her father immediately tried to report the incident to the police, but was told to return later in the morning when the person in charge of those cases arrived, negligence that he and others would later criticize in the media. He then took her to a clinic where she spent more than a month interned after suffering multiple physical traumas mainly on her head. Doctor Humberto Caiaffa, who cared for Ochoa, said she had multiple fractures and had arrived to the clinic in a "lamentable" state.

National attention

The case gained notoriety thanks in part to Ochoa's aunt, Astrid Amador, who took pictures of her during the wedding and afterwards at the hospital. She e-mailed the pictures, and the story was basically spread by word of mouth[4][5] until the most influential Colombian news media reported the event and produced other numerous reports related to these types of cases that had been widely ignored in Colombia.[1][4] The investigation on the case was initiated, and Ochoa also filed for divorce.

Husband jailed and released

On August 4, 2006, Dangond turned himself in to authorities after a brief absentia and was jailed in El Bosque Prison for three months.[2] He was formally accused on November 17, 2006, by Ochoa's family members in a sectional attorney office in Barranquilla. He was accused of being responsible for assault and battery, homicide intent, and carrying an illegal weapon. The attorney later decided on the case and absented himself from a final resolution and revoked the preventive detention, setting Dangond temporarily free.[6]


Lissette Ochoa's arm.

SoHo magazine article

Ochoa wrote an article called ¡Nunca más! (Never again!) in the Colombian SoHo magazine, telling her side of the story. She called men who are violent toward women beasts and recalled her married life of nine years, during which she had had two children by her husband; she also mentioned that her husband had previously been violent to a lesser extent with her, signals that she had ignored and which had escalated to a point that had almost gotten her killed.[7]

Public apology and reunion

On December 1, 2006, Dangond recognized that he had psychological and drug addiction problems, including personality issues, and that he was being treated by professionals who were also treating their two children. He also said that he continued to love his wife and publicly apologized for the events of that night, apologized to her and his family and the society in general. He publicly thanked her for giving him a second opportunity to rejoin her as her husband.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 ElColombiano: Ante el maltrato el silencio es cómplice. Accessed 03 December 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 EL TIEMPO: Rafael Dangond, esposo de Lizeth Ochoa, le pidió perdón públicamente a ella y a su familia. Accessed 03 December 2006. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ELTIEMPO" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ELTIEMPO" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ELTIEMPO" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ELTIEMPO" defined multiple times with different content
  3. CARACOL: A indagatoria el hombre que golpeó brutalmente a su esposa en Barranquilla. Accessed 03 December 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 ELPAIS: Golpiza de ganadero a su esposa en Barranquilla. Accessed 03 December 2006.
  5. WIKINOTICIAS: Hombre de clase alta golpea brutalmente a su esposa en Colombia. Accessed 03 December 2006.
  6. Fiscalia General de la Nacion: Acusado Dangond por causar lesiones personales dolosas a su esposa. Accessed 03 December 2006.
  7. SoHo: ¡Nunca más! Accessed 03 December 2006.
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