Motive still unclear in South Boston double slaying
The suspect in the slaying of two doctors in South Boston remained hospitalized Sunday, with arraignment plans uncertain, as family and friends of the victims reeled from shock over the brutal murders of the two highly regarded anesthesiologists.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said officials were likely to decide Monday when and where 30-year-old Bampumim Teixeira would be arraigned, based on what medical staff report about his condition. A law enforcement official briefed on the case said investigators were still trying to uncover a motive in the double slaying.
Those who knew the doctors, Lina Bolaños, 38, and Richard Field, 49, said they were baffled as to why anyone would want to hurt two accomplished, beloved physicians in the prime of their lives.
Boston police released no further details on Sunday about what brought Teixeira to the 11th floor of 141 Dorchester Ave. Friday night or how he got into the building, which has tight security.
Friends, colleagues, and family of the victims said they knew of no association with Teixiera, although officials have said they were known to each other, but gave no details.
Bolaños had invited a surgeon for dinner on Friday night but canceled because Field was not feeling well, according to Dr. Sunil Eappen, her boss at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
The couple had a large, cosmopolitan circle of friends, reveled in traveling together, and planned to marry before the end of the year, friends and family said.
“We don’t understand how this happened,” said Andrea Ustman Bolaños, a cousin who lived next door to Bolaños when they were girls in Palmira, a city in southwestern Colombia.
Just before he died, Field texted a plea for help to a friend, but when police arrived the doctors were already dead, bound at the hands and throats slit, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. One of the officials said the killer wrote a message of retribution on the wall.
The suspect, who was recently released after serving nine months in a house of correction for two bank robberies, fired on the officers when they opened the door to the apartment. The officers returned fire, wounding Teixeira.
“This is such a shock,” said George Beilin, a Beverly psychologist who collaborated with Field in treating patients’ pain.
“He was the nicest guy. So personable, a warm guy,” Beilin said. “He had the greatest compassion.”
Bolaños was a skilled pediatric anesthesiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. She could navigate the intricacies of anesthetizing children with complex medical histories, remaining cool and steady when sudden crises arose.
She also brought to her work a geniality and humanity that Eappen struggled to convey in an interview Sunday.
“She was just so warm and enthusiastic and infectious in her warmth,” said Eappen, chief medical officer and chief of anesthesia at the hospital. “She just made the room a little bit brighter.”
Bolaños sang to young patients to calm them, he said, and spoke reassuringly to parents as they accompanied their children into the operating room.
She “flattened hierarchies,” he said, engaging surgeons and patients and technicians alike. She even persuaded her department to take salsa lessons together every Monday night for 10 weeks.
“I didn’t get any better,” he said, “but it was a lot of fun.”
Eappen said Bolaños never hesitated to intercede when she felt people weren’t being respectful to each other.
“She was always polite, but not shy to speak up and call a spade a spade,” he said.
Ustman Bolaños, the victim’s cousin, said Bolaños unified her family when she visited them in Colombia, often making plans with every aunt, uncle, cousin, parent, and grandparent. She was also the doctor the family turned to for medical advice.
“Everyone in the family always admired her absolutely and her capability to study, to fight, and to get ahead,” Ustman Bolaños said.
“She was a fighter and so loving and courageous.”
Bolaños studied medicine in Colombia and moved to the United States in 2001, living in New York for a time, her cousin said.
Eappen, who was then an attending physician, met Bolaños when she was a research assistant in a lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He encouraged her to pursue her interest in anesthesiology, which he said combined her interests in pharmacology and physiology. And she wanted to work with children, he said.
“She loved kids,” he said.
She completed her residency at the Brigham and then trained in pediatric anesthesiology at Tufts Medical Center. When she began searching for a job, Eappen, who had become chair of the anesthesiology department at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, knew she would be a good fit.
Eappen said Bolaños first met Field while working at the Brigham. Field, who is from England and attended medical school there, worked at the Brigham as an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist. In 2010, he helped create North Shore Pain Management in Beverly, according to a Facebook post.
Bolaños and Field reconnected and began dating several years ago, he said, when Bolaños was searching for a rental in South Boston. A mutual friend suggested that she look at the building where Field was living — 141 Dorchester Ave.
Eappen described Field as “a very warm, sensitive guy” who adored Bolaños.
The couple’s Facebook pages are full of colorful photos of their travels together — at an outdoor music festival in the Netherlands, celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans, fishing in Key West.
Ustman Bolaños visited the couple in Boston last summer. She knew her cousin wanted to have children, she said, and it brought Ustman Bolaños intense joy to watch her cousin build her life.
Teixiera’s former girlfriend told the Globe on Saturday that he was born in Guinea-Bissau and raised in Cape Verde by an aunt, with whom he moved to the Boston area when he was in his 20s.
After a falling out with the aunt, Teixiera lived in shelters, he had told the former girlfriend, who said they dated for about six months before breaking up in February 2016. She said she never saw him use drugs or drink alcohol.
Teixeira texted his former girlfriend two weeks ago, saying that he had just gotten out of jail. They spoke for more than an hour on the phone that day. He told her, “I’m not a good person,” she said.
Teixeira described himself as a security guard when he was arrested. The vice president of the company Teixeira said he worked for could not confirm whether Teixeira worked for him but said the company did not provide security for 141 Dorchester Ave.
Ariana Selby, a physician assistant at North Shore Pain Management, said Field was compassionate, charismatic, and unlike any other doctor she has worked with, “unique in his ability to make patients feel cared for.”
Field’s patients adored him, Selby said, adding that many were charmed by his British accent.
Bolaños’s colleagues gathered Saturday to grieve together, Eappen said, adding, “This has been obviously an enormous trauma for our department.”