A 44-year-old woman moved her family from Colorado to a remote valley in Ecuador, she was shot dead after a group of bandits invaded.

Francesca and her family | New York Post

Own version of Shangri-La

Francesca Williams and her husband Michael moved from Colorado to a remote area in Ecuador with their family to build their version of Shangri-La. They paid about $10,000 for a 10-acre wide land on the side of the mountain. They planned to build their house outside on Vilcabamba to create a farm consisting of several different animals with their 3 daughters.

The Independent reports that it was a life they could have not afforded when they were in the U.S. but with constant hard work and compassion, Francesca and her husband were able to save money for their dream home and life in Ecuador together with their 3 teenage daughters — Rebekah (19), Rachel (17), and Renee (14).

Yet all of these achievements they had vanished after a group of assailants consisting of 4 members broke into their home and shot Francesca to death on May 20. They also stabbed her father, John, after resisting trying to intervene to save Francesca. Her husband, Michael, and their daughters were physically unharmed but they were tied and locked in separate rooms. It was an hour later that Michael managed to untie his hands so it was too late to save his wife, Francesca.


Francesca Williams has the hands of an artist, a linguist, a translator and author of published children’s books, and a dedicated woman of her own. She was an extraordinary woman with a gift of so much talent. Unfortunately, the fruits of their success as a family were destroyed by bandits.


According to Francesca’s mother, Ms. Benedict-Bacilla, the attack was so sudden but her daughter managed and tried so hard to protect her family. She said it was really unfortunate because they became hostages in their own home.

This case wasn’t new to several Ecuadorians since it also happened even before what happened to her daughter. There are cases like this and it was most likely the same. Francesca’s case also brought back the trauma of their family wherein on May 1967 Francesca’s aunt, Nikki Benedict was stabbed to death on her way home from a friend’s house in Poway, near San Diego.

The reports said there were no suspects arrested and identified. Even with unsolved cases handled by the police, Francesca’s mother thinks they didn’t seem to investigate thoroughly to her daughter’s death.

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