Manuela Escobar lives under an assumed name, and in constant fear that someone will someday realize who she is, and retaliate for what her father did.
Before Manuela Escobar could even walk, she’d been taught to run.
Like never quite being able to escape the shadow of your father’s crimes for the rest of your life.
Everyone knows the story of Pablo Escobar’s dramatic demise. His attempt at escape across the barrio rooftops, the ensuing gunfight, and his eventual demise. However, the death of Pablo Escobar is not where the Escobar’s story ends. In a way, it’s where it begins.
Upon the kingpin’s death, Manuela, her brother Juan Pablo, and her mother Maria Henao Escobar fled Colombia. No country would grant them asylum after Escobar’s crimes – they even petitioned the Vatican for help – and the Cali Cartel was demanding millions of dollars in reparations for Escobar’s crimes against them. Finally, in 1995 they managed to make it to Mozambique, then Brazil, then Argentina, where they lived under an assumed name.
In 1999, Maria, living as Victoria Eugenia Henao Vallejo, and Juan Pablo, now Sebastian Marroquin, were arrested and accused of falsifying a public document, money laundering, and illicit association. Eventually, they were let go, though many people had questions about their arrest. Most notably, where was Manuela?
Manuela Escobar is, to date, the only member of the Escobar family never to be implicated or accused of any crimes. She was just barely nine years old when her father was killed, and for the most part, she’s maintained an exceptionally low profile since then.
In 1999, when her mother and brother were arrested, word broke that she had not been. For the first time in five years, there was news about Pablo Escobar’s only daughter. An article, published in El Tiempo, a Colombian news website, revealed that Manuela Escobar was living under the name Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos, in Buenos Aires.
She’d been living alone in a residential building known as Jaramillo, in apartment 17. Despite rumors of the Escobar children sitting on millions of dollars in stolen drug money, Manuela Escobar’s life was far from lavish, even struggling to be called middle-class, a far cry from having literal cash to burn.
Reportedly, though, she was thriving. For the most part, the life that Juana Marroquin was living was much better than the one Manuela Escobar had. Whereas Manuela had tutors, instability, and little time to bond with her peers, Juana had a real school, a stable home, and friends her age who lived in her building.
But there was one thing that Juana and Manuela shared – fear. When her mother and brother were arrested, the fear Manuela lived with resurfaced, and she was once again a frightened teenager. Though they were eventually released, as the police had no basis for their suspicions, Manuela remained locked away, hiding from the world.
While her brother lives in the spotlight, writing books and granting interviews about his father, Manuela has essentially become a recluse. Since 1999, Pablo Esobar’s daughter has had several depressive episodes, and, according to Juan Pablo, has attempted to take her own life. She is studying public relations, though is struggling due to her depression. She lives with her brother and his wife, who care for her through her illness.
Juan Pablo, whose last interview with his sister was in 2015, claimed that she lives in fear of being discovered and that anyone who knows her identity will associate her with the crimes of a man that she barely knew, and that someday, someone she loves will end up paying for his atrocities with their own life.