Who is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, the Mexican businessman accused of wrongful death in California?

A member of one of Mexico's wealthiest and most powerful families is facing charges in California for the involuntary manslaughter of his 11-year-old son during a boat trip.

Who is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, the Mexican businessman accused of wrongful death in California?
Javier Burillo Azcarraga. Photo: Agencies

Businessman Javier Burillo Azcarraga, a family member of Televisa's founders, faces charges of driving a boat under the influence of substances and wrongful death from the death of his 11-year-old son, who was ejected from the boat in which they were traveling in San Francisco Bay.

Tiburón Police identified him on Monday as Javier A. Burillo, 57, although later property records consulted by the Associated Press revealed that his full name is Javier Burillo Azcárraga, who was arrested Sunday at his Belvedere mansion on suspicion of manslaughter with a boat, malicious injury to a minor and operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Prison records posted on the Internet indicate that the suspect was released Monday afternoon after posting a $1,000,000 bond. During a press conference, Police Chief Michael Cronin refused to discuss Burillo's relationship with the Azcarraga family, founder of the Mexican network Televisa, a media empire that produces television programs for all of Latin America.

According to media reports, Burillo Azcarraga is a wealthy real estate entrepreneur known for his luxury hotel and restaurant developments in various parts of Mexico. The local weekly The Ark lists him as the owner of more than a dozen restaurants and the main builder of Las Ventanas al Paraíso, an exclusive resort on the Baja California peninsula.

For its part, the Marin Independent Journal, citing documents from the Marin County Court related to a pending divorce case filed last April, indicates that Burillo Azcarraga has been involved in real estate projects in California and Texas, in addition to having a monthly income of approximately $176,000 per month.

"Javier is a member of a Mexican family that is extraordinarily powerful in politics," his wife Rose Burillo wrote in the divorce lawsuit seeking child support for her and her now-deceased son. The documents say his family owns Televisa, the media reported.

Mexican social pages place Javier Burillo Azcárraga as the son of Carmela Azcárraga Milmo, sister of the late Emilio Azcárraga Milmo and daughter of Emilio Azcárraga Vidaurreta, founder of the Televisa media conglomerate. Javier is the first cousin of Emilio Azcárraga Jean, the current president of the company. His brother, Alejandro Burillo Azcárraga, sold his shares in the company years ago and is recognized as a prominent businessman in Mexico.

Federal property records consulted by the Associated Press indicate that Burillo Azcarraga's residence in Marin County was acquired in 2004 for $10,200,000. Records also show that he and his wife, Rose, own property in San Diego and Sausalito.

Tragedy in the Bay

On Sunday night, around 7:00 p.m., Marin County Emergency Services received a call to report that a minor was injured and unconscious at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. Moments earlier, Javier Burillo Azcarraga was aboard a boat in the company of his two sons, ages 11 and 27.

Local Police Chief Michael Cronin said in a press conference Monday that Burillo Azcarraga's two sons were projected from the boat into the murky waters of the bay near Angel Island, north of San Francisco. Preliminary investigations indicate the incident commented on when the boat, a 33-foot-long Targa Protector, was struck by a large wave.

The 27-year-old son helped his father pull the 11-year-old out of the water, but during the rescue maneuvers both were hit by the boat. The authorities said that after testing him for alcohol it was determined that Burillo Azcarraga had been drinking.

The paramedics of the Tiburon fire department, along with police officers, were the first to arrive at the docks of the Corinthian Yacht Club, of which Burillo Azcarraga is a member. The 11-year-old was pronounced lifeless in the place, while the 27-year-old son was transferred to the Marin General Hospital with serious injuries to one of his legs.

Cronin explained that the agents found the father of the family at his residence in Belvedere and that so far he has cooperated at all times with the authorities. "It's a tragedy. We are all dismayed. The community is in shock," the police chief said.

For now, authorities have not been able to determine if Burillo Azcarraga's two children were wearing their life jackets at the time of the accident. The police did not want to give details about the level of alcohol that the suspect had in his blood and simply said that it was above the .08 allowed to operate a boat.

The exact causes of the child's death will be revealed once the autopsy is completed by the county medical examiner. The Coast Guard and the Marin County Sheriff's Office are supporting the Tiburon Police in the investigation.