By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Oralia Contreas, 36, often dressed in the same clothes as her younger sister, Gloria Llanas.
The night the two sisters were killed they were wearing similar outfits. So the women’s family isn’t sure if Gloria’s estranged husband shot and killed Oralia by mistake that winter day or if Oralia was trying to protect her younger sister.
“I think Oralia was innocent of it all,” the women’s sister-in-law, Maria Llamas, said. “She was with her sister in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Gloria separated from her husband, Gregorio Llanas, less than three months before he came to a Hispanic dance in the early morning hours of March 2, 2003, at the Fall Creek House, the former Fall Creek School building in rural Madison County.
Llanas shot and killed both women as the event was winding down and people were leaving. He then shot and injured another man before killing himself sometime after midnight.
Oralia’s husband, Silvestre Contreas, was devastated by his wife’s loss.
“I loved her very much and she was taken from me all of a sudden,” he said, through translation from Maria. “I can’t believe this, and that (Gregorio) would have done it. My daughter’s going to miss her that much more.”
Family of both women struggled with trying to reconcile what happened. They were close to Llanas as well and couldn’t imagine him committing such a brutal crime against his own wife.
Maria said Gloria and Gregorio had been separated since December, and the family knew that Gregorio was grieving over the situation at the time of the shooting.
In December he was arrested in connection with an act of domestic violence on both Gloria and their daughter, Jessica.
“She told us she didn’t know what had gotten into him,” Maria said, as Llanas usually had a quiet demeanor.
Silvestre said Llanas had a calm and serious nature.
“You could tell he was a good person,” Silvestre said of Llanas.
Oralia and Silvestre had been together since he was 18 and she was 17. They had three children — Veronica, Angel and Brenda, 17, 13 and 12, respectively, at the time of their mother’s death.
Soon after her mom’s death, Veronica spoke through tears of the loss.
“She was a good mom,” the girl said. “I know she loved me.”
Both Maria and Silverstre said Oralia, who was about 10 years older than her sister, was more serious and always wanted to take care of everyone, especially her sister.
“But she could be just as feisty as Gloria sometimes,” Maria joked.
Silvestre described Oralia as a good wife and said he’d miss her dearly.
Like her sister, Oralia worked in housekeeping at what was then known as the Ramada Inn.