Eight days before Dia Palafox was found stabbed to death in her New Britain home, the 30-year-old mother of three detailed in her own handwriting the abuse she said she suffered at the hands of her husband, who is now charged with her murder.
Palafox filed for a restraining order against 32-year-old Juan Palafox on Jan. 27, saying her husband of about a year had threatened to kill her and take her children to Mexico. Police arrested Juan Palafox in North Carolina Thursday after he was pulled over for speeding. He was being held as a fugitive from justice and will be returned to Connecticut, authorities said.
Dia Palafox's mother called police after discovering her daughter's body on the kitchen floor of her Brighton Street home Thursday morning. Police said they believe the couple's three children — two boys, ages 6 and 5, and a 2-year-old girl — were in the house when their mother was killed but were not aware of what happened. The children are now staying with their grandmother.
The state Medical Examiner's Office on Friday ruled the death a homicide. Dia Palafox died of multiple stab wounds, a spokeswoman for the office said. New Britain police Capt. Matthew Tuttle said she likely was killed late Wednesday or early Thursday.
The restraining order filed last week paints grim a picture of the couple's last month together, which, according to court documents, was colored by physical and verbal abuse.
"My husband was drinking. He punched me in the face. Took me by the hair and hit my head twice on the bathtub. He also grabbed scissors and threatened to kill me," Dia Palafox wrote of the incidents that unfolded on Jan. 16.
The abuse also was sexual, she writes. Juan Palafox "forced himself on me for sex. I said 'no' numerous times," Dia wrote of an attack on Jan. 1. "He said I'm his wife and it's not rape."
She also went to a friend's house more than once in January, in fear of her life. During one of those trips, Juan showed up yelling at her to "get out of the car or he will hurt me," Dia wrote. "The children witnessed this."
On the last date listed in court papers, Jan. 27, Dia describes coming home from work and being met with verbal accusations that she was having an affair. A friend she was speaking with over the phone called police.
Throughout their last few weeks together, Juan harassed Dia "on a daily basis," she wrote, "stating that he will take my kids to Mexico and I will never see them again."
Although Juan Palafox does not have a criminal record, he was arrested on domestic violence charges in December 2002. Police at the time said he threatened to kill his then 23-year-old pregnant girlfriend with a knife, though it is unclear whether the woman in that incident was Dia Palafox. Court records of the case are not public, meaning Palafox could have been admitted to a diversionary program enabling him to avoid jail if he completed probation and counseling.
The restraining order against him was dismissed Friday in Superior Court in New Britain due to Dia Palafox's death.