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Vladimir Carretero Buried By A Daughter Like Antigone
By Lonce LaMon - August 5, 2009

As yesterday's article articulated, Vladimir Carretero, a career California workers' compensation claims adjuster, employed by ESIS in Chatsworth at the time of his death on June 2nd, 2009, died of natural causes.  He is shown here in this photo with an unknown woman. This determination was made last week by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which evaluated through the toxicology reports that Vladimir died of a seizure followed by a heart attack. 

Now all the rumors that he died as a result of foul play can be put to rest. This writer even received a phone call just one week after his death stating that an arrest had been made. But, when pressed further, the informant stated, "That's your job to find out..." I felt at the time that maybe I was being toyed with.  So, clearly I was...  

The story left off yesterday where the "ostensible" wife, Gloria Grotticelli, who's not known yet if she's really the legal wife, is claiming Vladimir's body from the Coroner's office in a rivalry with Vladimir's natural daughter, 24-year-old Clarice Morales. Clarice's mother, Elizabeth, was Vladimir's companion/life partner from the late 1970s to the late 1980s.  Clarice was born in 1985 to Vladimir and Elizabeth. 

But after the late 1980s, after Vladimir and Elizabeth separated, when Clarice was around 3 years of age, Vlad sometime in the 1990s hooked up with a woman named Carol Salazar.  Some friends, such as Arthur Valencia, a long-time aquaintance of Vladimir, believed that Carretero and Carol Salazar were married. But, others do not. 

"I couldn't find anything," Clarice stated after explaining to me over the phone that she had searched the public records for a marriage certificate between her father and Carol Salazar.  But, even though nothing came up, the L.A. Coroner's office had to wait the mandatory 10 days to see if Carol Salazar would make a legal claim for the body and if so, if she was going to come up with the appropriate documentation determining that she was the legal spouse.  This complication further contributed to Vladimir's body staying in suspend-mode in the Coroner's office.

The L.A. County Coroner's office got a copy of the Marriage Certificate between Gloria Grotticelli and Vladimir Carretero that was dated April 28th 2009 from Clark County.  But, apparently the Certificate had not been certified or officially recorded.  This evidence that that particular marriage may not be official was discussed for days, until further evidence was unearthed that Gloria was not even officially divorced from her ex-husband, John Victor Grotticelli. 

The divorce papers had been initiated between the Grotticellis during 1996, but the ball had been dropped and the final decree never achieved.  The Grotticelli divorce was still, after more than 10 years, "pending", therefore, Gloria's claim as spouse to Vladimir's body was nullified.  According to law, the first right to claim a body always goes to the spouse, but when Gloria was finally determined not to be a legal spouse, more hope to claim the body was possible for Clarice, the daughter.

But, Clarice still had the problem of Carol Salazar.  Apparently, Vladimir and Carol had a private marriage ceremony, together between themselves, sometime during the 1990s, but the day after they performed the ceremony, Carol was arrested and taken off to prison! Ever since, she has been in and out of prison, and right now she is incarcerated in Chowchilla women's prison in Chowchilla, California. She has a long record.

Arthur Valencia, the friend who found out about Vladimir's death by searching on the Internet, had been looking for Vladimir for months but had been frustrated by Vlad's phone numbers all having been changed or out-of-service.  Arthur found my first article and contacted me in a state of shock.  And in one of his emails, he discretely referred to Carol Salazar as "bad news".

When notified of Vladimir's death, Carol Salazar stated that they had been married, but she made no claim to the body.  However, just because she claimed she and Vladimir had been married, the Coroner's office had to wait the mandatory 10 days for her to make a possible claim.  Thus, Clarice was still waiting and hoping--praying to have the power to put on a proper funeral for her father and to give him the "burial he deserved".

So, finally, on June 25th, the appropriate time had elapsed without any claim from Carol Salazar, thus Clarice was able to get her father's body.  And as fate would have it, Michael Jackson was going into the L.A. County Coroner's office on exactly June 25th, 2009, most likely at almost the exact same time that Vladimir was going out.  They must have crossed paths! 

Thus, that night Vladimir's body spent the night at the Pierce Brothers' Mortuary in North Hollywood, California, and the next day, June 26th, at 1 PM, Clarice put on a proper funeral for her father.  Friends and family and co-workers came.  Paula Grace Watkins, Vladimir's claims manager, according to Clarice, gave a loving and generous eulogy about Vladimir, describing him as a good employee.  According to my ESIS employee contact, Paula Grace Watkins is a very nice and generous human being, who is universally admired.  So, finally the positive energy flowed...

A family friend, a woman named Gina Christopher, donated most of the money to put on the funeral. Friends were later given the opportunity to donate, and to give back to Gina; but it was Gina who came up with the bucks up front to make sure that the funeral, the burial, the Mass and the social gathering at the Burbank Bar & Grill were able to happen without any problem with money. 

Clarice Morales reminds me of Antigone. She had all the right values in this scenario with her father. Like Sophocles' 5th Century B.C. heroine, she is heroic.  But fortunately, she is not tragic. 

Antigone, whose two brothers died in battle against one another, defied Creon's demand that the brother he viewed as having "attacked the city" be left to rot on the battlefield and not be allowed a proper burial. Antigone couldn't stand it; and her passion to properly bury her brother was so deep that she thought nothing of risking her life. And she paid the price with her life...

This Classic play by Sophocles transcends twenty-five centuries.  It expresses the same emotion that Clarice felt when desiring a proper burial for her father.  This emotion, this religious rite, is instilled so deep within us... When my father died, I remember staying up all night unable to sleep, obsessed with the desire to bring my beloved father's body home from Arizona. 

What strikes me now about Vladimir's only daughter, and only issue, is that she has all these truly human feelings and a solid set of proper values. When the issue was discussed that Vladimir had a Life Insurance Policy with ESIS, and that he had not filled out his beneficiary page, I thought about Vladimir's usual and customary modus operanti of always leaving loose ends of paperwork not completed.  This seemed to be a pattern with Vladimir...

Gloria Grotticelli showed up at the ESIS Human Resources office with her marriage certificate.  But, when Clarice discussed the Life Insurance Policy, she said that her father had told her, "Gloria may get my paychecks, but you get everything else."  But, since Vladimir died intestate, Clarice realizes she will now have to make her claim as the legal life insurance beneficiary in probate court.  She said, "Well, if I don't get anything, so be it..." 

Thus, she's not centered on the money at all, or even on what personal effects of her father's she may receive.  She already knows she may not receive his final belongings, and she accepts that fact graciously.

"So be it," she said.  But she got her true heart's desire.  She got to give her father a proper burial. 

Clarice knew her father as he truly was.  She almost never saw him from the time she was 3 until she was 15 years old.  Then, she decided to assertively seek him out.  Why wasn't he a better father? "Because he didn't know how," Clarice answered with a generous heart and a mature spirit. 

Never once did Clarice ever accuse Gloria or anyone else of murdering her father.  She consistently stated, "I'm not going to think anything yet or accuse anyone. I'm just going to wait and see what the Coroner says."

So finally, Clarice heard what the Coroner said and accepted it.  She successfully put on a funeral and had Vladimir properly buried, according to her feeling.  According to Vladimir's half-brother, Adrian Cisneros, Vladimir is now buried in North Hollywood next to one of The Three Stooges.  I thought, well now, hopefully, he's having a fun time.

"This is just like a Lifetime Television Movie,"  Clarice said, with a heavy heart, but with a clear vision of the immense drama and controversy that manifested itself around her father's life and death.

Yes, indeed.  This story would make the perfect Lifetime Television Movie.

 
 

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