On May 4, 1996, José Rafael Llenas-Aybar, the 12 year-old child of an affluent family of Santo Domingo, was found murdered lying in a creekbed some 24 kilometers to the Northwest of the city. His body was bound in duct tape and had received thirty-four stabbing wounds, made in a way that was interpreted by some as a sort of satanic ritual murder.
According to the interrogation and trial transcripts, José Rafael was picked up by his cousin Mario José Redondo and his friend Juan Manuel Moliné -both 18 at the time- on May 3 at a shopping center where the boy was hanging out with some of his classmates. They boy was duped by Redondo, who told him he was being invited to come along with them to see a motor show. This way, they kidnaped the boy supposedly to ask for a ransom of some US$700,000. For reasons not yet clear, the kidnappers ended up killing him and later dumped his body.
During further questioning, references were made to the husband and son (a schoolmate of Redondo and Moliné) of the then Argentine ambassador, Teresa Meccia. Redondo stated that Luis Palma, the ambassador's husband, forced them to murder the boy, otherwise he'd kill Redondo's younger sister. He also mentioned that they had been witnesses to drug deals by Palma. Oddly enough, Moliné vehemently denied these statements. Nonetheless, the spot where the body was found was a short distance away from land the where Palma-Meccia family dog breeding facility, which made the Palmas' implication in the case at least plausible.
In January 1997, the trial concluded with guilty veredicts for both Redondo and Moliné, and they were sentenced to the maximum penalty of 30-years imprisonment and $US300,000 each, owed as damages to the family of the victim. An appeal in 1999 slightly reduced Molinés' term to 20 years, on account that he was not the killer per se, but more of a passive accomplice.
The diplomatic family members were never prosecuted, first, due to their immunity status, and second, because the Argentine government terminated Meccia's tenure as ambassador -which began in 1989, by direct designation of then-president Carlos Menem- and all had fled back to Argentina by August, 1996. The former ambassador is said to have been involved in some corrupt dealings regarding the house she and her family inhabited in Santo Domingo, since it was their property (purchased) but they were charging the Argentine Exterior Ministry more than 4000 dollars a month for the supposed rental of the domicile. Palma and his son were summoned by the Dominican authorities for further questioning, but the Argentine government has never answered to the extradition requests.