Every Sunday John Walker had a date to call his wife and young daughters in Minnesota. It was 1985, so he would ring from the landline in his apartment in Guadalajara, Mexico. The journalist had temporarily moved there hoping that it would inspire him to accomplish a lifelong goal: write an epic murder mystery.
When he missed one appointment, Eve Walker wasn't too worried. Maybe her husband had a bad connection, or time got away from him.
But when another week passed and no call came, Keely Walker Muse, then 10 years old, could feel tension in the house.
"I remember playing Atari with my little sister and watching my mom pacing while she was on the phone. I heard her say the word 'missing' over and over."
Eve Walker had received a call from the State Department telling her that her husband and his friend, Albert Radelat, a dental student from Fort Worth, Texas, had disappeared.
They were last seen walking into a Guadalajara seafood joint called La Langosta Loca, or the Crazy Lobster.
The same night, someone else had locked down the restaurant for a private party -- Guadalajara cartel kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero.
A man who looks like he's straight out of trafficker central casting, he preferred his diamond jewelry thick, his leisure suits undone to the navel and his parties over the top. A partier at one those soirees claimed to have seen Caro Quintero smoking cocaine on the back of a prancing horse.
As capo ambitions went, the trafficker seemed to have everything he could want. But that year, he wanted blood from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Recent raids had reportedly made multi-million dollar dents to the cartel's bottom line.
And here were two Americans strolling into La Langosta Loca. To Caro Quintero's crew, they might have looked like agents.
Five months later, Walker's and Radelat's bodies were found in a nearby park. Their bodies, ravaged with signs of torture, had been tossed into shallow graves.
A kingpin free again
"I can't believe that after all these years, I'm reliving this," Walker Muse says.
She's 38, a mother of two girls, a successful television producer. She sits in her Atlanta living room looking through a folder of old newspaper clippings, photographs and trial transcripts.
She hasn't touched this stuff in years.
"This stays in my closet. Why would I bring it out? Just to cry?" she says.
She's always carried sadness about her father's death quietly. Before, when someone asked how her father died, she would just say, "an accident," not wanting to draw attention or pity.
But now she's incensed and wants everyone to know that.
On August 9, a federal court in the Mexican state of Jalisco overturned Caro Quintero's conviction for the 1985 kidnapping and killing of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena and his pilot Alfrado Zavala Avelar. The slayings profoundly damaged U.S. and Mexico relations then and remained a sore spot in the drug war.
The druglord's release infuriated U.S. officials. The Justice Department said freeing Caro Quintero was "deeply troubling" and it would "vigorously continue its efforts to ensure" that he faces charges for his crimes.
The Jalisco court ruled that Caro Quintero was incorrectly tried in the federal judicial system, when he should have been tried at the state level.
Caro Quintero had served 28 years of a 40-year sentence for killing Camarena and pilot.
The agent was snatched off the street in Guadalajara about a week after Walker and Radelat were killed.
Although Caro Quintero was never convicted of Walker's and Radelat's slayings, according to numerous news reports, the order that overturned his sentence reads that "accusations" were dismissed related to Walker's and Radelat's deaths.
Cartel bodyguard Javier Vasquez-Velasco was tried and convicted, in Los Angeles, for Walker's and Radelat's murders. He was sentenced to two life sentences. He remains in prison, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.