In a world plagued by circumstances as challenging as the current COVID-19 pandemic, political tensions, humanitarian crisis, and other planet-scale events, it remains true that very often, the most striking tragedies are those that happen on a smaller scale.

One of such saddening events was the death of Jessy Paola Moreno Cruz, a thirty-two-year-old Colombian single mother from the town of Ibague, in the western region of Tolima.

In February 2019, she jumped to the river below the La Variante bridge alongside her son, May Ceballos, of only ten years old. Both died in the jump, and their bodies were retrieved later that day.

It was later known that their suicide was due to financial reasons and that they had both been homeless for a while, as onlookers observed the importance of checking in with friends and family members who may be going through a tough time: keep reading as we explore ten facts on the tragic end that befell this little family of two.


10 /10 A Mother's Last Words

After both of their bodies were being brought from the water, the existence of a suicide letter, written by Jessy, came to be known. This letter is the primary document to understand what happened before she took the decision.

It opens with a very revealing passage: “I cannot tolerate the idea that somebody could hurt you because of what I did, I prefer that we leave and forget this world. I have no hope, I have been defeated and humiliated.”


9 /10 Ten Years Prior

The story of Jessy Cruz began ten years before the suicide came to happen, as she gave birth to her only son, little May Ceballos, to a man about whom she would say in the letter that he “left her alone, very alone.”

The disappearance of this past romantic interest from her life resulted in her focusing all her attentions (and her hopes) on her son.

As part of the everyday struggles of raising children as a single parent, Cruz was consequently in dire financial stress.

8 /10 Money Troubles

This rough patch of money troubles had been going on for some time before she took the fateful decision of killing herself alongside her son, as they both had been previously evicted from their home and were living in the mother’s car.

The letter explains, “If only somebody could help me, but who can lend me the money or even a home? There is nobody…. I failed the person I love most in my life; I cannot afford to pay for his studies, I do not even have enough money to give him hot food.”

7 /10 Loan Sharks

But it seems that the last straw for the single mother came from the menaces to harm her and her son that she had been receiving from loan sharks, from whom she had lent money to ease her financial stress.

“My mistake was to trust the wrong people,” she observed. “Every day is more difficult and filled with threats, debt, and lack of love. I will be told I am a coward, but only God knows the distress of being terrified that someone will hurt you because of me.”


6 /10 The Events

On the early morning of February 6, 2019, Jessy arrived at a portion of the bridge that was still under construction, alongside her little boy.

After tying her son’s body to hers with the help of a belt and a blanket, she sat on the edge of the structure, above the void, where some people in the nearby vehicles, as well as some police officers, noticed her and came running towards her to try and prevent her from committing the gruesome act.


5 /10 Don't Do It, Mom

Not only did these civilians and police officers tried to dissuade her, but her son was also begging his mother not to jump.

As she said to the rescuers, “Do not insist; I didn’t take this decision today but two weeks ago,” her son was seen afraid but relatively calm and not crying, as he caressed the face of his disturbed mother and pleaded with her: “Mommy, don’t do it please, I do not want to die; give your hand to the policemen who are trying to help you.”

An initially sympathetic reaction to the mother’s situation has later been turned into public criticism of her actions, which cost her innocent child’s life.


4 /10 Impotence

However, it was all to no avail: in an impulse and as one of the policemen negotiated with her, Jessy Cruz let go of the iron sucker rod that had been keeping her alive.

Her son, who was also grabbing the rod firmly, couldn’t hold the weight of both of them, and they plunged to their deaths below.

In a video of the incident, recorded by a journalist present (and visibly affected), the onlookers and police officers who talked with the mother break down in tears of frustration and impotence as they immediately realize that they weren’t able to save her

“I am a loser. This time I will not fail you, my son. Nobody will hurt us anymore”, says the last part of her previous letter.


3 /10 Doubts And Tales

Some people have since then questioned some of the most salient elements of the case, such as claiming that Jessy had been homeless for a while.

The Colombian magazine Semana tried to clarify the circumstances surrounding the murder-suicide.

It concluded, amidst public disbelief, that some of the claims that Jessy Cruz made in her letter are, in fact false, and that she did had people around her that she could turn to.

Others have doubted the letter’s veracity, claiming it a later fabrication, but these claims haven’t been ascertained.

2 /10 The Bridge Of Death

What is known for sure is that the La Variante bridge where Jessy and May’s lives ended that day has been known locally for some time as “The Bridge of Death” or “The Bridge of Suicides,” on account of the number of suicides that have taken place in that location.

Claims from the nearby populations for the government to install a fence alongside the bridge have for the moment only partially been fulfilled. As late as September of 2020, there have been other suicides in the structure.

1 /10 A Bodybuilder's End

One of the other sad cases of suicide that have taken place in that bridge is that of Christian Alexander Ciro Flores, a young bodybuilder of twenty-three years old, who a month before the death of Jessy Cruz and her son had also jumped to the void after posting several messages in his social networks announcing the decision.

Some of his friends and relatives who noticed the messages went to the bridge as soon as they could, only to find that it was, sadly, too late. His suicide has since then been attributed to “sentimental problems.”

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