Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Murder of Crystal Gigliotti


I was absolutely heartbroken when I read of a Crystal Gigliotti’s being found dead by her mother in the early morning hours, around 2:30 a.m., inside her apartment at 4524 Newby Drive in Durham Co., N.C; Crystal’s three-year-old baby son was in the home. Police said Crystal was found lying in a pool of blood; the thought of her baby possibly seeing his mother like that makes me ill. The day, Wednesday, May 4 2011 that she was found, her mother had advised the officers that someone had slashed Crystal’s car tires two nights before she was found. She had gone to Crystal’s home because her, (mom’s) husband had gotten a call from Crystal’s ex-boyfriend, Silvestre Alvarad Chaves, about Crystal and he’d mentioned slashed so they felt she should check on their daughter.

Police said they had received three previous calls about disturbances in the past year. Two of those calls were in March and April 2011. The police in Memphis, TN charged Mr. Chaves with offenses not related to Crystal’s death on May 7 2011 and they booked him in at Shelby Co., TN jail. His booking shows he was due in general sessions court in TN (a misdemeanor court) on charges of fugitive from justice w/o warrant at 8:30AM Tuesday May 10, 2011. I presume at that time they will put him on hold for Durham N.C. since the media reported that Monday, May 9 2011, Durham Co., N.C. police charged him with murder. When they will transport Mr. Chaves from TN to NC for arraignment on the murder charge, is unknown.

No details are out yet with how Crystal died. However, law enforcement stayed at the apartment and collected evidence from it and the SUV in the parking lot for several hours. I have this sick feeling in my stomach that since Mr. Chaves allegedly mentioned ‘slash’ when he called Crystal’s dad, and the report she was lying in a pool of blood, that her killer slashed her throat. We will have to wait for Medical Examiner’s report before we know for sure. I pray not, what a horrific way to die; I also pray that her son was asleep and did not see his mother’s body that way.

I really wish people who have domestic violence, and obviously Crystal was, in their relationships had a copy of Time’s Up: A guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships by Susan Murphy Milano it could give them so much valuable information how to escape and protect themselves.

You can read about this horrific murder at: wral.com  and newsobserver.com


  1. I really appreciate that you, TigressPen, who probably didn't even know Crystal, cared enough to write about this event with feeling, recognizing the nightmare that it was. It stands in contrast to the cold, objective, brief writings in the media. So, thank you. Unbelievably, over one year later, it seems nothing has changed with the case. The autopsy still isn't finished, no DNA evidence is back from the lab...no trial has begun. She was stabbed to death. Still cannot believe it. We will never underestimate the possible paths that an abusive relationshsip can take (whether there has been ongoing abuse or one previous incident). It should be taken very seriously. Maybe this is summed up in the book you recommended but I would like to note that when people in an abusive relationship try to leave is when they are in the most danger, so it is not as simple as enouraging someone to "just leave." We miss my sister so much.

  2. Thank you Anonymous: No, I did not know Crystal. I've thought about her many times since reading of her demise. And of her son. I agree about people who try to leave being in the most danger. They can't just walk out the door and be safe. Sadly, many can't under the why of that. Susan's book "Time's Up" is a powerful help with situations like that though. The evidentiary abuse affidavit is mandatory.