Police: Dying man in love triangle was ignored - East Valley Tribune: News

Police: Dying man in love triangle was ignored

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Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 10:50 am | Updated: 2:25 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A 20-year-old man and his 48-year-old ex-teacher sat in a dark living room waiting for police to arrive as an 18-year-old man lay stabbed and dying in another room on April 10, according to a Chandler police report.

Sixto Balbuena and Tamara Hofmann sat calmly on separate couches in Hofmann’s living room and wouldn’t answer basic questions as police who responded to a 911 call were trying to find the wounded man.

Balbuena is in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Samuel Valdivia.

Valdivia was a student of Hofmann’s at El Dorado High School in Chandler, and Balbuena is a former student of hers at Tempe’s Marcos de Niza High School.

As officers moved toward the bathroom of the house, Hofmann finally spoke.

“He thought he was attacking me, he was just trying to protect me,” she yelled out.

Records show Hofmann resigned from Marcos de Niza in 2007 after Chandler police found her with Balbuena, then 17, at 1 a.m. in a parked car with her bra in his pocket.

Balbuena told homicide investigators that he and Hofmann, who is married, “were regularly engaging in sexual intercourse.”

Court records show Hofmann has been going through a contentious divorce since December 2007. Balbuena told investigators he and Hofmann have been engaged for eight months.

Hofmann told police after the 2:39 a.m. 911 call that Valdivia was a friend whose unexpected visit was a welcome surprise, but she denied having sex with him.

Valdivia’s mother told police and the Tribune, however, that a woman called about 9:47 p.m. and asked to speak with him.

Valdivia’s mother last saw him laying on the couch talking on the telephone.

When police asked for help in finding Valdivia’s family, Hofmann said she didn’t know how to contact them.

Balbuena, who was on three days liberty from the Navy, told police he informed Hofmann the previous day he was coming to visit her and left El Centro, Calif., about 10 p.m.

When Balbuena arrived at the house in the 2500 block of West Ironwood Drive, he let himself in and saw a male figure go into the bathroom.

Balbuena broke in to find Valdivia in his boxer shorts and Hofmann naked.

Valdivia said “I’m sorry” as Balbuena beat him and threw objects at him and then stabbed him, according to Balbuena’s statements in the report.

Hofmann had blood on her hands, feet and underneath her clothing as she told an investigator that Valdivia was in the living room when she left to use the bathroom.

“Hofmann would not talk about what happened during the assault, was vague, or tried to change the subject,” the report said.

Balbuena said neither of them tried to help Valdivia after the attack.

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