At last, some more info on the Colonna Aponte children

Twelve-year-old John Colonna Aponte and his eleven-year-old sister Giannina disappeared from Puerto Rico thirty-eight years ago. Until now, I had next to nothing on them — and I still don’t have a decent LE contact number. But thanks to a link (in Spanish) which a helpful stranger sent me today, I now know a lot more:

It looks like the children were kidnapped for a 72k ransom, and something went wrong with it, or maybe the kidnappers never intended ransom in the first place. Eight months after they vanished, a guy in Miami killed himself and left a note, implicating himself in the plot.

Interpol, which is apparently investigating the case, did genetic testing using Maria’s blood, some of the children’s baby teeth, and DNA taken from the father’s exhumed body. and the results indicate that John and Giannina were not the biological children of their mother’s husband. The husband, John Colonna, died in 1982. The mother, Naomi, is still alive and quite indignant, insisting that the children most definitely WERE John Sr.’s and it’s quite impossible that they weren’t.

There was a possible explanation for this raised in the comments: John died of cancer. Perhaps, during his treatment for the cancer, he had blood transfusions, and perhaps that messed with the genetic testing results. I have no idea whether this could happen or not, but it sounds possible. Of course, the children’s paternity might well be completely irrelevant anyway.

So now Mom’s having them declared legally dead. She’s 73 years old and has breast cancer. And there the matter rests.

In an aside, another puzzling Puerto Rican case: Michelle Delfi-Feliciano, a four-year-old who disappeared from her front yard in 1992. “It has been established that Michelle was in the company of a family acquaintance sometime after her initial disappearance. The individual has since returned to Puerto Rico, but Michelle has not been located. It is believed that the child may be in a Puerto Rican community in Massachusetts, New York or Florida. Her family has ties to those regions of the country. She may also be in the Dominican Republic.” Um…what?

12 thoughts on “At last, some more info on the Colonna Aponte children

  1. Armando A. Cardona June 15, 2012 / 6:47 pm

    Enjoyed your blog, very interesting stuff; I’m a lawyer in private practice in Puerto Rico, 51 years old, and I remember the Colonna children’s case very clearly, at the time it was huge news (kind of like the Lindbergh baby kidnapping or the Beaumont children in Australia, except that Lindbergh’s baby was eventually found). There was widespread speculation that the children’s father, John Colonna, who passed away in 1982 and was originally from New York, was a retired mobster or related to a mafia family and that the children were abducted and done away with as payback for something or other in the man’s past. Another rumor current at the time was that the next door neighbor who committed suicide supposedly left substantial papers explaining what had happened in detail but that not all the papers were made public by the suspect’s relatives. Anyway, it is a very sad and tragic story; a Puerto Rico newspaper article a few years back quoted the Colonna children’s mother saying that she had left the kids’ rooms exactly like they were on the date of their disappearance, just in case they came back. Makes one think…

    • Kat June 18, 2012 / 11:30 pm

      This is a great comment, I really like when older cases are able to be fleshed out a bit, and when someone who was in the area, or in other cases knew the victims it always lends a certain realism to it. Glad to see the case is getting attention after such a long time.

      • Armando A. Cardona June 18, 2012 / 11:37 pm

        “Attention” is hardly a term I would use in this case, more like the unfortunate mother finally resigning herself to the fact that her children are never coming back and that she will go to her grave not knowing what actually happened to them; really, really sad story, makes one wonder why it was never solved, as I recall there were good, solid leads early on, top notch police investigators were on the case and even the FBI was involved from the beginning, finally, the main suspect committing suicide and leaving a written confession… seems to me a lot of cases have been solved with far less to go on. Maybe all it needs is a fresh pair of eyes… Oh well, maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye…

  2. Melissa June 16, 2012 / 8:26 am

    “Um…what?”. My thoughts exactly!

  3. Erika Garcia June 18, 2012 / 7:39 am

    Omg!! I Remember these two cases. I wasn’t even born when the Colonna brothers dissapear but I heard and read a lot about them and this info about the dna test and everything is old. I also remember Michelle’s case. I was nine when this happened and I few months ago, I saw her age progression photo and she looks exactly like a girl I met in New York a few years ago when I used to live there, but who knows if these age progression photos are reliable. This is so sad. I feel sorry for their moms.

    • Meaghan June 18, 2012 / 11:49 am

      I think age progression photos are reasonably reliable.

  4. Dalia Rivera April 18, 2016 / 11:03 am

    I went to school with Jonn and Gianina Colonna they were good kids we were in Catholic Scool together wen the news came out my mother got scared and send me to Chicago i go to Puerto Rico every year and i go see Doña Noemi she very humble and sick lady i love to visit her all the time bevause i feel that my best friend Gianina would of wsnt me too do that all this stories they print some of it is true but not entirely ppl need to find thame facts and thruth leave this family alone they have grieved enough.

  5. Manuel Rivera-Torres July 3, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    For me, the gossiping about the paternity of the children was enough for Mr. Colonna to punish his wife disappearing the two kids. I hope the two are alive, elsewhere, because they never were reliable for the sins of their parents.

  6. Margaret Grote May 5, 2017 / 10:41 am

    Can anyone find out if the suicide letter was part of the police investigation and a matter of public record?

    I was 10 when this happened only miles from where we lived in Fajardo. My parents didn’t tell us at the time since we were so little, but we talked about it later. So sad.

  7. Jose Roberto Vega May 5, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    I am a lifelong resident of Luquillo, where they lived and were kidnapped. The mother, Noemi, is still alive. I see her very frequently, as she is my parents neighbor. THEY WERE KIDNAPPED 43 YEARS, TODAY. The were 2 of my very few childhood friends. I know a lot, but can’t reveal much. The father is deceased and yes, had many many blood transfusions; he suffered from cancer since before the kidnapping; the government revealed that info to cover-up some facts; they misplaced the case file, did not reveal it was not the first time such tests were done with a different conclusion (on the original ones they determined mr. colonna was the biological father). Other important information: (1) the father was born in a french protectorate in northern africa, served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and became a merchant marine, and while in New York met and married Noemi, who was a nurse at a military hospital; (2) the person who commited suicide was a front-door neighbor for many years, but had moved to a newer place about a year before the kidnap; as a matter of fact, the kids were to go to his home when they disappeared; he was not born in the U.S., and brought his family from his native country to live in Luquillo, where the two families became very close; on the day of the suicide, he was on his way to the airport to travel to puerto rico to speak to local authories, after living in florida several years, but he maintaned phone contact with mr. colonna; he supposively shot himself but left no fingerprints on the gun he used to shoot himself (curious, unexplained cleaning of fingerprints from gun after his death), left a suicide note next to him that contradicts a taped massage found under the driver´s seat; and finally, he knew a lot, but a lesser known fact is that he had a business partner in puerto rico who is still alive and has never spoken. Yes, there are still many unanswered questions, but a lot has never been revealed. Maybe some day all the info will be available.

    • MaryJane December 28, 2018 / 12:46 am

      Do you think the kids are still alive? What do you think happened with them?

    • Carlos Conde September 21, 2021 / 2:59 pm

      Hello: I am very aware that this is an old post, but this case had intrigued and baffled me since I was a kid. I am Puerto Rican born in 1970, and rememeber this case being discussed between my Grandmother and us(siblings). Have you provided all this valuable information to the IRB tip line?

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