As a three-episode documentary series delving deep into the atrocious 2003 actions of Spanish serial killer Alfredo Galan Sotillo, Netflix’s ‘The Playing Card Killer’ is genuinely unlike any other. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also first-hand accounts from those close to the matter to really explore how the convict terrorized the entire nation for months on end. Amongst those to thus feature here to help move the narrative along were his close military friends, Ruben Meneses and Javier Flores — so now, let’s just find out more about them, shall we?
Where is Ruben Meneses Now?
It was reportedly around 1998 when Ruben came across Alfredo for the first time as they’d both recently joined the Army, only to quickly establish a deep bond despite their two-year age gap. The truth is they’d ended up in the same group by pure chance, but it was the moment they realized they had to share a bunk that made all the difference since the latter made him comfortable. “It was hard, coming from a very small town,” the then 18-year-old elucidated in the original. “It wasn’t easy…, and suddenly someone who didn’t know me gave me his friendship just like that.”
That’s why Ruben had a hard time believing Alfredo is the notorious Playing Card Killer even upon confession, especially as he never witnessed anything too strange despite the latter’s keen interest in firearms. It hence comes as no surprise he still seemingly views his former military pal turned incarcerated convict as one of his close friends — he definitely thinks there’s more to the story than what’s been told. Coming to Ruben’s personal standing, it appears as if he has long been discharged from the military and is currently doing his best to lead a quiet yet comfortable life surrounded by loved ones at every step of the way.
Where is Javier Flores Now?
The story of how Javier first came across Alfredo is quite similar to Ruben’s, but the stark distinction is that this time it was 1999, and the duo bonded over training — running, combating, or shooting — together. “He was a very shy person,” the fellow soldier said in the docuseries at one point. “But once you gained his trust and he felt comfortable with you, he opened up completely; got close, personable. He was even a very good friend.” In fact, the latter is a significant reason he still vividly remembers details of their unit’s humanitarian missions deployment to Bosnia — Alfredo was quiet, he was fun, and he was calm; never rowdy or harmful.
Javier actually said, “At times when you’re drinking industrial amounts of booze [after a hard day of work], it’s not uncommon for things to sometimes get out of hand…But he wasn’t particularly aggressive; [he was] quite the opposite.” Though he did specify he knew his friend had taken illegal possession of a possible 7.63 mm Soviet-special Tokarev semi-automatic handgun, which turned out to be the very weapon used in 5 murders plus three attempted murders between January to March 2003.
“Our mission was to make the citizens hand over their weapons,” Javier explained in the production. “Because we understood civilians couldn’t be allowed to be armed. There was a black market before we would go to fight. Local people would come with stuff in blankets. Grenades, combat knives, ammunition, guns, we had all that within our reach and we all took something. I took a combat knife myself, from an AK. Some took grenades. [Alfredo] told me he hid a gun in a TV… but I never saw it.”
From what we can tell, this was possibly one of Javier’s last interactions with Alfredo since he left at the end of their deployment to focus more on himself, his mental health, as well as his loved ones. Therefore, it’s highly likely the former Army official is doing the same to this day, all the while dedicating himself to another professional industry to make a living and be the best possible self he can be. As for Javier’s personal status, well, we couldn’t find much public information on it, so we believe he simply prefers to lead a quiet life well away from the limelight these days.