One of three Florida men accused of stealing human and canine ashes from a house in Silver Springs Shores in late 2010 and snorting them was sentenced on Friday to more than eight years in prison. Authorities believe Jose David Diaz-Marrero, 20, was involved in a string of burglaries in the Shores between December 2010 and January 2011. He and Waldo Soroa, 21, and Matrix Andaluz, 19, allegedly burgled a home in the area on Dec. 15, 2010, and took urns that contained the cremated remains of Holli Tencza’s father and her two beloved Great Danes, Samson and Epic.
Detectives investigating the case said the men told them they thought the urns contained crushed pills and decided to taste and snort the contents. After the men saw a story published in a local newspaper, they realized what they had allegedly snorted were the remains of a woman’s father and her two dogs. Diaz-Marrero pleaded guilty in June to four burglaries. In court on Friday he said was remorseful for his actions as he spoke before Circuit Judge Sandra Edwards-Stephens.
“I recognize that I’ve made a big mistake,” he said. He said he woke up every day thinking about what he did. “I wish the victims were here so that I could tell them how sorry I am,” he said. Upon his release from prison, Diaz-Marrero will be placed on six years probation, during which he will have to pay more than $20,000 in restitution to the victims in the cases, including $9,000 to Tencza. Tencza’s two purebred Great Danes were shot and killed by a neighbour in August 2010 after he reportedly felt threatened by them.
The State Attorney’s Office did not press any criminal charges, but the shootings caused an uproar in the community. The remains of Tencza’s father and those of one of the dogs were found in a lake shortly after her home was burgled, and were returned to her. Detectives went to another home in the Silver Springs Shores area to look for the second dog’s remains. There they met with the homeowner who told them that she had unwittingly thrown out the ashes thinking it was a plastic bag of concrete mix.