Father arrested after boat kills son near Angel Island posts $1M bail

ByWayne Freedman and Kris Reyes KGO logo
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Father arrested after boat kills son near Angel Island in San Francisco Bay
Javier A. Burillo, 57, was arrested Sunday at his multimillion-dollar home in the bayfront community of Belvedere.

ANGEL ISLAND, Calif. -- A member of one of Mexico's wealthiest families was arrested on manslaughter charges after his 11-year-old son died on a family boating trip in the San Francisco Bay, police said Monday.

Javier A. Burillo, 57, was arrested Sunday at his multimillion-dollar home in the bayfront community of Belvedere on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a vessel, willful harm or injury to a child and operating a boat while under the influence, Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin said.

Burillo was driving the boat with his two sons, aged 11 and 27, aboard on Sunday. Both sons fell off the boat in open waters near Angel Island, north of San Francisco, Cronin said. Investigators believe the boys were thrown overboard when the boat hit a wave, said Cronin, who declined to discuss any other details at a news conference Monday.

He said Burillo helped bring the two back aboard and transported them to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, where the 11-year-old boy was pronounced dead.

"Well it is a tragedy. We are all heartsick about this. Every parent's worst nightmare," said Cornin. "There is a fair possibility that they were swept under. Or when he turned to rescue them."

Cronin said Burillo was also the one who called authorities around 7 p.m. Sunday. Later, they say Burillo failed a breathalyzer test. Officers arrested him and took him to Marin County Jail. He faces charges of Vehicular Manslaughter while operating a vehicle, willful harm or injury to a child, and reckless or negligent operation of a vessel.

Property records show Burillo's full name is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, a wealthy property developer known for lavish hotels and restaurants throughout Mexico.

Cronin declined to discuss Burillo's links to the Azcarraga family, which founded Grupo Televisa SA, a media empire that produces Spanish-language television programming seen across Latin America and dominates news coverage in Mexico.

"I know him as Javier Burillo,'' Cronin said, adding that the developer is a well-known and liked member of the Tiburon-Belvedere community. Cronin wouldn't confirm his full name.

"Nobody wants to contribute to the unspeakable pain. We are sympathetic," said Cronin. "Officers in interviewing him felt they had a probable cause for intoxication. We enforced the law."

Burillo's older son had cuts to his leg and was transported to a hospital. He spoke to investigators but Cronin wouldn't say what he told them.

Burillo posted $1-million bail late Monday afternoon.

His 27-year-old son, the second victim, remains hospitalized.

U.S. property records show Burillo's Marin County home was purchased in 2004 for $10.2 million. U.S. records show he and his wife, Rose, also own properties in San Diego and Sausalito.

A New York Times story about his February 1989 wedding to Alejandra Aleman, the daughter of late Mexican President Miguel Aleman, said he owned Casa de Campo, a resort and restaurant in Cuernavaca, the Hotel Ritz in Acapulco, and other real-estate holdings.

Police say this is the Tiburon/Belvedere's first manslaughter case in at least a decade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.