Wealthy developer arrested in death of son, 11, who fell off boat in San Francisco Bay

The father, a member of a powerful Mexican family, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a vessel, operating a boat while under the influence and other charges.
Image: Boat accident
A boat motors toward the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2019, with the town of Belvedere on the hill in the background.Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal via AP

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A wealthy property developer who is a member of a powerful Mexican family was arrested on manslaughter charges after his 11-year-old son died when he fell into San Francisco Bay during a family boating trip.

Javier A. Burillo, 57, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a vessel, willful harm or injury to a child and operating a boat while under the influence, according to a statement from police in Tiburon, a bayside town in Marin County north of San Francisco.

Burillo's two sons, the 11-year-old and a 27-year-old, both fell off the boat near Angel Island, just north of Alcatraz, on Sunday evening, according to the statement from police.

Both of Burillo's sons were run over by the boat, but the 27-year-old was eventually able to get back on and help his father recover the 11-year-old from the water.

Burillo contacted authorities and brought his sons to Corinthian Yacht Club, where the 11-year-old was pronounced dead, according to police. The 27-year-old was hospitalized with leg injuries.

Investigators believe Burillo's sons were thrown from the boat when it hit a wave, Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin said during a news conference Monday.

"It's a tragedy. We're all heartsick about it," he said, adding that Burillo is a well-known and liked member of the Tiburon-Belvedere community.

Online jail records show Burillo was released on $1 million bail Monday afternoon.

Burillo, whose full name is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, is a property developer with high-end hotels and restaurants in Mexico and other projects throughout California and Texas, according to NBC Bay Area and the Marin Independent Journal. His family owns Televisa, a Mexico-based mass media corporation.

A 1989 New York Times wedding story announced his marriage to Alejandra Aleman, the daughter of late Mexican President Miguel Alemán Valdés.

He and his current wife, Rose, are in the midst of divorce proceedings, the Marin Independent Journal reported according to court files, which say his nontaxable income is $176,000 a month.

Associated Press contributed.