Heydi Paz Bulnes: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that the 2018 murder of Honduras native Heydi Paz Bulnes (or simply Heidi) is one of the worst to have transpired in recent years. That’s because, as carefully explored in Netflix’s ‘Cooking Up Murder: Uncovering the Story of César Román,’ the way this mother of two’s life was taken was brutal to the very core. But alas, the unfortunate truth is that her matter has still not seen a satisfactory close — there are unanswered questions that remain despite her perpetrator having since been convicted.

Heydi Paz Bulnes Was Dismembered

At the age of 25, Heydi was reportedly doing her best to lead a comfortable, stable life in Madrid, Spain, so as to quickly obtain legal status and hen have her children migrate to her too. Her primary goal was thus to provide her family with better opportunities, which is why she didn’t mind working various odd jobs before also integrating herself into different social settings. Though no one could have ever imagined she’d end up losing her life just a short while later — she was actually last seen or heard from alive in the early morning hours of August 5, 2018.

According to the aforementioned original, Heydi was employed at a local restaurant in Perales del Río when she’d contacted an off-shift co-worker at around midnight to see if they were up. This duo then went to a happening nightclub together in Plaza de España, which is where they remained until the closing time of 4:30 am before taking a taxi to the area of Plaza de Legazpi. It was from here that this single mother of two insisted she’d take public transportation to get home, only for her cell phone to last ping through a nearby antenna too, yet at rought 5:52 am.

Then came August 13, 2018, when a call to the fire department for smoke coming out of a unit at Number 3 Sebastián Gómez Street resulted in the discovery of a charred torso in a suitcase. As per records, not only did this dismembered body part have wounds in the exact area of breasts, but it was also covered with a compacted white substance while lying in a pool of blood. Officials hence swiftly got onto canvassing the scene for evidence, just to learn the deep cuts on their victim’s chest were to remove breast implants since they had identifiable serial numbers.

Moreover, investigators were able to ascertain that the white substance was sodium hydroxide, especially as two small containers of it were strewn around in the three-story industrial warehouse. They also recovered a knife from right next to the suitcase, a bloody necklace with a heart pendant from where the fire was first started in the service elevator, plus a couple of DNA samples. However, they saw no signs of any other body part of their victim, meaning their precise cause of death could never be determined, and then she was only identified as Heydi through DNA later on.

Heydi Paz Bulnes Was Killed By Someone She Once Trusted

Although officials initially had no idea whose death they were looking into, they were able to identify César Román as a person of interest almost immediately since he’d leased the warehouse. The fact a witness had seen someone who looked like him leave the scene shortly following 1 pm thus didn’t help his case and neither did the fact that he almost immediately went on the lam. He stopped picking up his cell phone, stopped showing up to work, and stopped responding to debtors’ calls too – it was as if he’d vanished from the face of this Earth.

It was then that it came to light that César and Heydi had actually been involved in a romantic relationship since they first came across one another in April 2018, but they were so serious they were cohabitating. Well, that is, until she’d broken up with him in June following an accidental pregnancy and abortion – nevertheless, per his narrative, they still remained in touch and often even spent some nights together. In other words, they were in an on-and-off relationship, and Heydi was missing too, driving officials to connect the dots and then identify her through DNA from the torso and her mother.

Then came the additional records of how Heydi had spent the night of August 4 in César’s apartment, just to call a friend at roughly 2:30 in the morning to assert she was scared for her life. Her boyfriend was also her last call the following night – on August 5, 2018, at 5:52 am – but their conversation was very, very brief, making suspicions about him rise further. However, once he was arrested on November 16, 2018, in Zaragoza, he claimed he’d actually gone on the lam not to avoid the police but to avoid a group of criminals his ex used to run with.

According to César’s narrative, the torso in the suitcase wasn’t Heydi’s. Instead, he claimed that she’d actually run away in August following a drug robbery she executed alongside her crew of friends, just to then steal 26 pounds of cocaine from it for herself. He essentially painted a picture of her as a party girl, yet the truth is she had no records of drug use – she’d never been arrested for her, and her toxicology report had come out clean too. However, César himself had a drug problem, per his ex-partners in the documentary film – he was apparently a heavy user.

Nevertheless, with the evidence against only César and the fact he hadn’t told this cocaine theft theory of his until his trial came around (and that too without names, claiming he was worried for the safety of his daughter from a previous relationship), the restaurateur was found guilty of murder. According to the prosecutors, he killed Heydi in cold blood after she’d made the final decision to leave him following months of controlling as well as manipulative behavior – she’d left a note at his apartment that expressed her sentiments. On the other hand, César maintained she’d either run away or her murder was the work of drug dealers and organized crime, but he ended up being convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison in June 2021.

In the end, though, in April 2024, César finally conceded to being behind Heydi’s murder – many believe he did so in the hopes of having his sentence reduced, but he admitted guilt nonetheless. In the letter he wrote to a judge, he said that while he “cannot turn back time,” he “[wants] to make clear [his] regret” for killing his ex-girlfriend and “repair the damage” he caused.”I inform the Provincial Court of Madrid of my recognition of the crime committed, my regret and in which I ask for forgiveness from the victim’s family,” he said before adding, “I want to humbly ask for forgiveness from Heidi’s family and everyone affected by my deplorable actions.” However, his own attorney has since denied his guilt and vowed to keep appealing.

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