Mariano Rivera Relatives Die in his Electrified Pool

Rivera relatives die in accident at pitcher’s Panama pool (NY Daily News)

Two relatives of Mariano Rivera were killed in an electrified swimming pool at his Panama mansion – dealing the ace reliever a double tragedy on the eve of the Yankees’ playoff series against the Boston Red Sox. The pool had been wired to discourage two pet Rottweilers from jumping in, the Daily News has learned.
But 14-year-old Victor Dario Avila did not know that when he jumped in to cool off Saturday. His father, Victor Sr., 35, was killed when he leaped in to try to save his son, police said. “They didn’t know the pool was wired,” an investigator told The News. “The boy jumps in, and when his father saw him being electrocuted, he also jumps in.”

Rivera, 34, reportedly was on his way to Panama Sunday night, though earlier, team officials said he was expected to be at Yankee Stadium for Tuesday night’s opening game in the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. The athlete was told of the two deaths Saturday night in Minnesota, just as he and the Bombers began celebrating their American League divisional series win. The bad news from home came as a crushing blow to Rivera, who had been jubilant after securing the 6-to-5, 11-inning series-sealing triumph by shutting out the Twins over the last two innings.

“Everyone here is in pain,” said Jose Marciaga, a neighbor of Rivera in the pitching star’s hometown of Puerto Caimito, about 40 miles east of Panama City. Police believe the accident happened about 11 a.m. Saturday, but the bodies of the father and son – cousins of Rivera’s wife, Clara – were not found until about 4 p.m.

Rivera’s brother-in-law Denis Ballesteros discovered the bodies and suffered minor injuries when he tried to pull them from the electrified water, a police source said. His wife, said the source, removed an electric rod, saving her husband from worse injury. “I am well and recuperating,” Ballesteros told the Daily News from his hospital bed Sunday. When asked about the pool being electrified to keep out the dogs, he started mumbling and hung up. But the investigator who spoke to the Daily News said Ballesteros – who is the caretaker of the mansion and lives on the property – had rigged the electrical metal rod to put into the pool to keep the dogs from jumping in.

What a bizarre and tragic story.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Sorry to seem unsympathetic but that’s no accident. That’s reckless disregard.

  2. McGehee says:

    From the article: The pool had been wired to discourage two pet Rottweilers from jumping in…

    If the juice was strong enough to kill a grown man, wouldn’t it also have killed the dogs?

    I suppose it would have deterred them from jumping in a second time.