This story has more twists and turns than a midnight ride on The Zipper, so let’s see if we can skim the most important bits and get right to the GoFundMe part.
Raymond Zabala was a mechanic for an AAA contractor in Southern California and was stabbed to death in June of 2015. Accused in his murder is Tobias Ruben Cabrera, the son of Cynthia Avila. Avila was getting Zabala’s assistance with her minivan at the time of the stabbing.
Zabala is survived by his fiancee Stephanie Almanza, who gave birth to their son Raymond Zabala IV a few months before his father’s death. Are we almost caught up now? I hope so, because I’m exhausted.
SO, Almanza (fiancee) sued Avila (AAA client), Cabrera (alleged stab-happy weirdo son of Avila), and three members of the Zabala family who she say withheld GoFundMe money from her son.
Thursday’s action comes two days after Almanza was sued for libel by her late fiance’s parents, Raymond Zabala Jr. and Michele Zabala; and his sister, Amanda Zabala. The three allege Almanza falsely accused them, via a Facebook post, of stealing money raised for her and her son, and they are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Tamar Arminak, an attorney for Almanza, criticized the Zabala lawsuit.
“Someone should explain to this family that truth is an absolute defense to libel or slander claims, and my client looks forward to proving that her allegations are protected by the First Amendment and are absolutely true,” Arminak said.
According to the Zabala lawsuit, Michele and Amanda Zabala created a GoFundMe account shortly after the victim’s death. About $16,000 in donations was raised, and all parties agreed the money should be put into a trust account for his son, who was 2 months old when his father died, the Zabala lawsuit states.
Last July 2, for reasons unknown to the Zabalas, Almanza posted a Facebook message critical of the family, the Zabala lawsuit states.
“They are using their own son/brother Raymond III and grandson Baby Ray for Fraud,” the Almanza post stated. “Ray the father has also screwed his own son over with money in the past, I always gave his father the benefit of the doubt, but now realize his true side, all he is after is all the money that is coming in.”
Even the LA Kings — of which the deceased was a fan — jumped on board with sharing and donating to the GoFundMe page. We attempted to track down even a cached copy of the account but it is, alas, no more.
The Zabalas, meanwhile, say they tried to give Raymond’s baby mama the GoFundMe money, but she declined.
There were no funeral costs, as Zabala’s funeral and burial was fully paid for by the state and AAA. Almanza alleges that the surviving Zabalas attempted to claim death benefits from the state and AAA even though little Raymond Zabala IV is the rightful heir to any benefits.
That case is still ongoing.
What did we learn here?
- Don’t get stabbed
- If you do get stabbed, don’t let just anyone fire up a GoFundMe page for you
- Definitely don’t get stabbed
We hope everyone is able to work this out and, most importantly, that little Raymond IV is taken care of.