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Determination Of Cause Of Death Made for Vladimir Carretero
By Lonce LaMon - August 4, 2009

Vladimir Gaston Carretero, a career California Workers' Compensation Claims Adjuster, who died in Southern California on June 2nd 2009 while employed as an adjuster at ESIS, in Chatsworth, has finally received a determination as to his cause of death from the Los Angeles County Coroner's department.

Vladimir died of natural causes: he had a seizure followed by a heart attack in the early morning of June 2nd 2009.  He was only 49 years old.  He would have turned 50 this coming November 17th 2009. 

Now all the speculations of murder and manslaugter can be fully discredited. Vladimir Carretero died of natural causes. 

The fact that a couple of readers flew off the handle and sent me emails demanding that I take down my very first story stating that Vladimir had died of an apparent heart attack, and immediately pointed the finger at Vladimir's wife, Gloria Grotticelli, as a possible murderer or perpetrator of wreakless manslaughter, made me wonder what was going on in Vladimir's personal life. One of these readers who made inappropriate demands that I "take down" my story, wrote that Gloria, Vladimir's ostensible wife, was the "number one suspect".

This was a bit startling. Had Vladimir been poisoned?  This was my first thought when first confronted by these emails.  I thought of Livia, in I Claudius, poisoning her own husband, Augustus Caesar, the Emperor of Rome, all for personal gain, control, and power. I was willing to accept the possibility that I may have just reported the universally believed facts, which may have been wrong. But writers routinely correct their reporting, as new information is revealed. And this is what I would certainly do if new information was disclosed to me. I always do this. Thus, I did not see any reason to take down my story just because a couple of readers demanded it.  I am not so easily bullied.  The demand was odd.

From there, I was further attacked with accusations.  One accuser suggested that I had gotten a skewed story from Gloria Grotticelli.  However, I had never talked to Gloria Grotticelli, and have never talked to her up until this day.  Another individual, who was completely unknown to me, wrote me an egregious piece of hate mail attacking my manner of dress, and accused me of deceiving people about my sex.  Who was this person?  I had no clue.  But, the attacks continued from people I had never known or spoken to before in my life. And that same egregious hate-mail writer wrote in the very first line of her email letter, "I've been following your trash publications about the death of Vladimir Carretero."

I have written many Obituaries in my writing career; and I have regularly, as the consistent response, received outpourings of love and sorrow from readers expressing their sentimental feelings about the loss of the recently departed.  So, this was weird. This was something new.  It was the first time in my career that I had received expressions of hostility with accusations of foul play, concomitant with personal attacks against me as the Obit writer. 

Subsequently, the rumor mill churned with hurricane force winds and vigorous energy. It was clear that Vladimir was caught in some dark energy. Now, I was being sucked into that darkness as a journalist writing about his life and death. 

One story that was told with consistency was that Vladimir had been in a physical fight with his wife's daughter's boyfriend, and also with the daughter herself, a young woman named Dara, over the Memorial Day weekend.  The story of this fight spread speculation that a physical beating had been a possible cause of death.  Testimony stated that Vladimir had gone to work the following Monday with bruises.  And further testimony stated that he had been coughing up blood the day before he died. 

Various versions of when he died were told: One stated that he died while getting ready for work right after showering.  His wife heard a "thud" and went to the bathroom to investigate, and found Vladimir collapsed on the bathroom floor. Another version stated Vlad laid down on the couch during the time he usually got ready for work, and died on the couch.

Someone said his wife told him to go to the doctor the day prior to his death, but he didn't go. That seems to me plausible, but even more plausible it seems that Vladimir died earlier in the morning, closer to 1 am.

So many issues in Vladimir's personal life clouded the fact that Vladimir was probably a walking time bomb with high blood pressure, a hardening of the arteries as a possible effect from long-term smoking, the ill effects of too much drinking, and not enough attention paid to his own physical condition while attending too much to the demands of others.

Accounts were told of his wife's constant and increasing demands for money.  Her jaguar.  Her house that Vladimir paid for without even being on the deed.  A coworker of Vladimir's told this writer that Vladimir had been let go from Gallagher Bassett, a former employer, because he had consistently used Total Transport and Dr. Ronald Perlman, a transportation vendor and a liberal orthopedist, in exchange for payola.  The coworker also stated that Vladimir also sued Gallagher Bassett for overtime.  

Another account described how Gloria took a can of Raid and sprayed it over the bed where Vladimir was sleeping. It was stated that she never called his workplace when he died, and that one of the ESIS managers finally came to the house to investigate why Vladimir was not showing up for work, but days later.

This last statement has been contradicted by an employee of ESIS, whose identity I cannot disclose, who stated that Vladimir's wife did call the ESIS Claims Manager, Paula Grace Watkins, during the morning of June 2nd 2009, just several hours after Vladimir died.  Paula Grace immediately called a special meeting, and with sensitivity and feeling, told all the employees that Vladimir had died.  This employee was present to verify this event.

A paralegal from a well known work comp defense firm described how Gloria treated Vladimir like a "sugar daddy", although she was ten years his senior.  A family member described how Gloria drained Vladimir's bank account of over four thousand dollars during the immediate hours after his death. Everyone agreed that this was a rather tempestuous relationship.  Gloria would regularly either kick Vladimir out of the house, or else he would simply leave in the midst of a conflict.  He'd stay at a hotel for days.  He'd eventually return some several days later.  In fact, he had just returned home after one of his soujourns to a hotel just the day before he died.

But, the battle did not end when Vladimir's life ended; it continued on without missing a beat as his body entered the Los Angeles County Coroner's department the day of his death. 

His ostensible wife, Gloria Grotticelli, wanted to claim Vladimir's body, cremate him, and bury his ashes in her (their) backyard.  I say "ostensible" wife, because there was doubt as to the legal validity of their marriage, from the moment Vladimir's death became known.

Rumors of a possible bigamous marriage abounded amongst the multiple rumors ranging from bigamy to murder.

But, Vladimir's young adult, 24-year-old daughter, Clarice Morales, also made her claim on Vladimir's body with the L.A. County Coroner's office.  Clarice, who lives in the Sacramento area, did not find out about her father's death until June 4th, when a private investigator found her and informed her. According to Clarice, thanks to Louis Martinez, a workers' compensation claims adjuster presently employed by AIMS in Valencia, she found out her father had died, as it was Martinez who employed the investigator.  Without him, Clarice feels, who knows how long it may have taken her to find out about her father's death.

Clarice, upon learning of her father's death, immediately wanted to have her father buried, as she believed that this was his wish in compatibility with the family's religious feeling as Roman Catholics.  She wanted a Catholic Mass, a funeral, and a traditional burial, not a cremation.

Clarice expressed with feeling to this writer, over the phone, "I wanted to be able to say good-bye to my dad. And Gloria was going to make that impossible for me."

So the battle over the body in a rivalry between Clarice, Vladimir's young adult daughter, and Gloria, his "ostensible" wife, went on for days, leaving Vladimir's body in limbo, suspended at the L.A. County Coroner's department.  But then the fate of Vladimir's body was further complicated by another "wife" that the coroners became aware of named Carol Salazar.  So, Carol threw a further rope into the tug-of-war for the body.   

And the plot continues to thicken... (Stay tuned. To be continued August 5th)

Readers may write to writer Lonce LaMon at




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