The men lifted Murillo and dunked her head in a barrel of water, holding her there until her flailing body went limp.
At first, she fabricated a story.
Nicaragua, fallen in love and fought with the Sandinistas. ... It was all lies, but it was what they wanted to hear."
'I know your father'
FOR DAYS, MURILLO says, she and Flores were held in the basement with two or three torturers at a time and given nothing to eat or drink. Her captors fondled her and threatened to rape her if she fell asleep.
As torturers attached wires to her body, she saw through her blindfold that they wore graduation rings from the Honduran military academy.
"The rings have a blue stone," she said.
After 10 days, Murillo says, she felt so weak from lack of food and sleep that she was sure the next shock session would kill her.
It was then that a soft-spoken, heavily cologned officer offered relief.
He removed Murillo's blindfold and asked her to look into his eyes to see that he meant no harm.
The heavyset man breathed as if his weight was too heavy to carry, she recalls. She says the man was Marco Tulio Regalado, one of the men of Battalion 316 trained in interrogation methods by the CIA.
Murillo says that Regalado covered her with a rough cotton shirt. Then he held up a plate of cold beans and stiff tortillas. To her, it looked like a feast.
"He fed it to me at first," she said. "Then he untied my hands so that I could eat."
He politely asked her to cooperate. He said that they had checked and learned that her name was not Maria. The tortures would stop, he promised, if she would just tell them her real name.
She suddenly could not remember her false identity.
"I became hysterical and began to laugh," Murillo recalled. "I wrote my real name and my parents' names."
The man she identified as Regalado looked at the names and realized that her father was a former military officer. She says he screamed at her: "Bitch, I know your father."
Attempts by The Sun to locate Regalado have been unsuccessful. But in testimony before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica, Regalado denied any involvement in Murillo's captivity. He said he had no knowledge of the case except for what he had read in the newspapers.
Once her captors realized that she came from a prominent family and was a soldier's daughter, Murillo says, they became less harsh.
For a few weeks she was hardly tortured -- only a few shoves and punches.
Unearthed: Fatal Secrets
A survivor tells her story
Treatment for a leftist: Kicks, freezing water and electric shocks. In between, a visitor from the CIA.
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.