Teen Stab Victim's Cuban Mom Granted Visa

Slain teen's mom meets with government to ask for travel to US, charges could increase for suspect

The mother of the victim of Tuesday's fatal stabbing at Coral Gables High School has been granted a visa to travel to the US, and is going through the background check process in Cuba in the hopes of being allowed to attend her slain son's funeral.

Anais Cruz, mother of Juan Carlos Rivera (at right in photo), asked for permission from her native Cuban government to travel to the US for the services for her teen son who died earlier this week after a violent altercation outside the Miami-Dade school.

Rivera, 17, was killed early Tuesday morning in the courtyard of the school, stabbed five times with a three-inch blade, according to Miami-Dade police. Classmates have said the fight was over a girl.

Cruz, 42, a doctor in Cuba, sent her son to Miami last year to live with his grandmother. Now that the unthinkable has happened, she just wants to be able to pay her final respects. 

"The Cuban Government has to cooperate and authorize the exit from the country for a Cuban doctor," said Ariel Fernandez, with the office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is trying to help Cruz get to Miami.

The final decision will be up to the Cuban government.

Meanwhile, Andy Rodriguez, 17, sits in a juvenile detention center, awaiting his next hearing - scheduled for Oct. 6 - behind bars after a judge denied his attorney's request for his release yesterday.

And the teen, already charged with second degree murder in the stabbing of Rivera, could see those charges upped to first degree murder, prosecutors said.  

"We will review whether or not this goes to grand jury for a first degree murder or whether it remains a second degree murder," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle. "In any event, he's looking at a maximum penalty, no matter which charge it is, of life in prison."

New details were released yesterday that painted a picture of turmoil at the home Rodriguez shares with his mother, grandmother, sister and uncle.  
Court documents show police have responded to his house several times for domestic disputes and disturbing the peace, but at least one family member said the teen, who has no criminal record himself, is a peaceful kid.

"He's not violent or anything, If he was, I would have known," said uncle Felipe Caulla. "Too much, I have no logic for it."

As one family searches for logic, another prepares to bury their son.

"We've got two families, two young people whose lives have been pretty much destroyed, one's been taken, the other has a future of life in prison," Fernandez-Rundle said.

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