Real Name: Sandra Orellana
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Industry, California
Date: November 13, 1996
Details: Sandra Orellana was an employee of Robert Salazar; she had accompanied him on a business trip to California and stayed in adjacent hotel rooms. On the night of November 13, 1996, Sandra inexplicably fell ten stories to her death from her balcony.
When questioned, Salazar initially told authorities that he had escorted Sandra to her room around midnight, and then went to his room. However, detectives were suspicious when they found some of Salazar's clothing in her room. When confronted, he changed his story, saying that he went to her room and had consensual sex with her. He claimed that while out on the balcony, she put her leg up on the balcony railing, but somehow fell off accidentally. Surprisingly, according to his story, he did not call 911 or notify anyone of the fall. Instead, he went back to his room.
Authorities again did not believe his story. Her family stated that she was in love with her fiancee, and would not agree to having sex with Salazar. Detectives used a dummy to try and re-enact Salazar's story. When the dummy fell off the balcony, it did not land where Sandra's body was found. In fact, it would only land in that position when the detectives literally threw the dummy. Despite this and other evidence, authorities were unable to charge Salazar in Sandra's death.
Suspects: Robert Salazar
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the January 3, 1997 episode of Unsolved Mysteries . Sandra's case was also shown on 48 Hours in 2003.
Results: Unresolved. In March 2001, Salazar was arrested and charged with the murder of Sandra Orellana. Authorities noted that new DNA evidence and witness statements helped to solidify their case. Key pieces of evidence include Sandra's blood found on a shirt belonging to Salazar, her blood on her bed sheet, and Salazar's skin cells underneath her fingernails.
In October 2002, Salazar went on trial. One month later, however, he was acquitted of the charges. Jurors claimed that there wasn't enough evidence of a struggle to say it was a homicide. However, investigators claim that the case is officially closed.
- Sandra Orellana at Find a Grave
- Woman's Death from Hotel Fall Ruled a Homicide
- DNA Led to Charges in '96 Case of Fatal Fall
- Businessman Found Not Guilty in Fatal Fall Off Hotel Balcony
- Mystery in Room 813