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Gay Seattle Expat Killed In Brutal Attack In Mexico

by Shaun Knittel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Mar 17, 2013

Ronald Bentley Main, a real-estate agent and former president of the Greater Seattle Business Association (LGBT business chamber), died last week after succumbing to wounds he'd received from an attack on Feb. 24 inside his Chapala, Mexico home.

Main's son, Todd Schwarzenbach, of Bellevue, Washington said that police discovered a semiconscious Main, 66, suffering multiple stab wounds, on the kitchen floor of his home. Emergency personnel transferred Main to a hospital in Guadalajara, where he died.

His housemate of many years, Martin Orozco Gutierrez, 48, was found stabbed and bludgeoned in a hallway. He died at the scene.

Main's son, Schwarzenbach, said Mexican law enforcement officials stated that there was no sign of forced entry into the home so they believe the victims may have been acquainted with their attackers.

Local news accounts say investigators discovered two separate sets of footprints at the scene, which did not match shoes worn by either victim, indicating that at least two assailants were involved.

The victims' wallets as well as car and house keys were missing, and there were signs that a wall safe and two televisions had been removed.

Louise Chernin, executive director of the Greater Seattle Business Association, said Main, chamber president in 1994, was well liked.

Police discovered a semiconscious Main, 66, suffering multiple stab wounds, on the kitchen floor of his home. Emergency personnel transferred him to a hospital in Guadalajara, where he died.

Seattle Councilwoman Sally Clark, an out lesbian, remembers him as "a kind and gregarious personality in the greater LGBT community."

According to friends and family, Puerto Vallarta was his dream place. It didn't surprise anyone when he eventually moved there 10 years ago. Then, about five years ago, after housesitting for friends in Chapala, he bought a condominium and moved there.

The brutal attack suffered by Main and Gutierrez adds to a developing surge of violence in communities that ring Mexico's largest lake. More than 20,000 foreigners, including U.S. citizens, are said to own homes in the area.

Still, Main's Seattle-area friends and acquaintances, all of whom he remained in contact with, said he had not expressed concerns about his safety. His friends and family saw him often, in fact. His son says he last visited Seattle in January.

In Puerto Vallarta's old town, Main was considered somewhat of a patron to the locals. Friends told the Seattle Times that he knew the locals and helped to support many of them financially. He would hand meals to people he met on the street.

Schwarzenbach said he was contacted by the U.S. Embassy shortly after the attack and spent the last days of his father's life at his bedside in the hospital, although his father never regained consciousness.

Gutierrez and his father had just returned home from visiting Gutierrez's home state of Guanajuato, he said. They bought takeout food that sat uneaten on the kitchen counter.

Shaun Knittel is an openly gay journalist and public affairs specialist living in Seattle. His work as a photographer, columnist, and reporter has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest. In addition to writing for EDGE, Knittel is the current Associate Editor for Seattle Gay News.


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