A Texas teen has been arrested on murder charges, accused of slaughtering his parents and two siblings — including a 5-year-old brother — because he believed they were all “cannibals” planning to eat him.
Cesar Olalde, 18, was arrested after a standoff with police on Tuesday May 23 in suburban Texarkana and charged with capital murder — punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Police in the town of Nash — population about 3,800 — went to Olalde’s home after getting a report that a man had harmed his family and was threatening to kill himself.
When they arrived, they found the teen holed up, while family members were inside.
An affidavit by Nash Police Officer Craig Buster, said that the teen, barricaded inside, had called police, saying “he had pulled the trigger, and shot his family.”
After persuading Olalde to end his standoff and surrender, police went inside the home and found the bodies of his parents, Reuben Olalde and Aida Garcia, older sister, Lisbet Olalde, and 5-year-old brother, Oliver Olalde — all in a bathroom.
“It appeared as if the victims had been shot at various places in the residence and [had been dragged] to the bathroom,” according to the affidavit. Multiple spent cartridge casings were found throughout the home, and “blood spatter on multiple surfaces.”
The affidavit said Joseph Flieder, a colleague of Lisbet Olalde, had gone to the house because she’d missed work that day. He knocked on the door but got no response.
Flieder, together with a family member who had also arrived to check on the family, forced his way inside, where he was confronted by Cesar Olalde. The teen allegedly pointed a gun at the man several times and brandished a knife.
Flieder told responding police officers that Cesar Olalde said,
“he had killed his family because they were cannibals, and they were going to eat him”
Olalde was jailed on a $10 million bond.
Neighbour Robert Ward described the victims as a “beautiful family” made up of “extremely nice” and “hardworking people.” He said the daughter had recently graduated from college and planned to become a teacher, and that Cesar was “such a good kid. He was going to get into an apprentice program to be a plumber.”
There is no actual cannibalism involved in this story (unless Cesar Olalde was right about his family, as suggested by several people online).
But what is interesting is the fear of cannibalism that must have been strong enough to drive him to this desperate act, killing those closest to him. There are clearly major mental problems involved, but that’s not a sufficient explanation. Why see them as cannibals – why not aliens or pirates or something else?
The terror of cannibalism relates directly to our experience as babies, when we are altricial – totally dependent on caregivers, for far longer than any other animal of similar size. We gestate as cannibals, eating from the placenta – our mother’s body. We are born and fed from a breast (usually human or bovine), which is more eating of the body. As we grow, we experience rage when our needs are not immediately recognised and satisfied, and this rage may be homicidal in nature (Freud called the first six months of a child’s life the “cannibalistic stage”). We want to eat our mother, and are terrified that, being so much larger and more powerful, she may feel like eating us first. We fear, in other words, reabsorption into the maternal body from which we emerged.
The only difference between eating human meat and that of other animals is that we fear consumption by other humans, whereas the animals we eat – cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, fish, etc, are generally herbivorous or gentle, peaceful animals. We don’t recognise this fear at a conscious level, but under stress or psychic collapse, we find ourselves back inside our mental image of Freud’s primal “cannibalistic phase”.