We are asking your support in facing the inconceivable: Our friend Sebastian is in jail, accused of brutally murdering his mother, Maria—who was also his closest ally, best friend, and loving and beloved grandma to his two young sons, who are the world to both of them.
When we first heard this, we thought: This has to be some kind of sick hoax. Not Sebastian. Not Maria. Not them. Not us…How can this be???
And yet, it is true. Sebastian awoke in the predawn hours of Monday, October 16, 2017, to the sound of Maria screaming. In the darkness, he ran toward her room, only to be confronted by an intruder who attacked him, cut his face and broke his thumb, and then ran. Sebastian rushed to his mother to find her brutally beaten and strangled in her bed.
Panicked and in shock, Sebastian called 911 for help. Police arrived and questioned Sebastian. And then, based on circumstantial evidence, they arrested him for his mother’s murder.
Sebastian now sits in Pierce County Jail. He is grieving his mom and can’t see or talk to his two young sons, Jonathan and Ryan. His freedom has been taken away, he is wrongly accused, and his mother’s murderer is still out there somewhere. And his boys don’t have their grandmother, whom they called "Abuela," or their father.
He’s trying really hard to stay strong and optimistic, and to believe that justice will prevail: that he will be exonerated, he will be reunited with Jonathan and Ryan, and his mother’s real murderer will be found.
We know that Sebastian is innocent of this heinous crime. We who know him, and who know Maria or witnessed their relationship, know that they were the best of friends, with a mutual respect, love, and pride for each other that few mothers and sons are blessed to have. Maria had moved from the East Coast to Seattle and then to Tacoma to be an integral part of her son’s and grandsons’ lives. They were a team in raising the boys and working hard to provide a stable, safe, and loving environment for them. In fact, Sebastian and Maria were about to finalize the purchase of a home together on the very day following her murder.
However, the police have failed to take any of this into account; there is a total absence of motive. Sebastian gains nothing but devastation and heartbreak in this scenario.
Sebastian’s friends, family, and colleagues know him to be a kind, compassionate, self-deprecating and fiercely loving man; a steadfast and thoughtful friend, and as dedicated and protective a father as there is. Quick to offer help with anything. Funny, smart, and humane. The guy who can sit and talk with you for hours about literature and history. The kind of guy you want in your corner.
Now Sebastian needs you in his corner. Please join his friends and family in getting justice for Sebastian and Maria.
While we'd like to think that truth and justice always prevail, the hard reality is that in our legal system, truth and justice cost substantial funds. Sebastian has a top-notch defense attorney, but we need to raise money for her work and for a thorough investigation to dive beyond the police’s cursory inquiry and get to the truth of who murdered Maria. If we don't raise enough funds, Sebastian's defense will revert to an overworked public defender's office that lacks the time and resources to conduct the deeper investigation and work he needs.
Sebastian has spent his career in the bookstore world; Maria, in the performing arts. Their professions enrich our lives, but aren't especially lucrative.
If you’ve ever opened your heart and donated to disaster relief or combatting a disease, then please open it even wider now to help us achieve justice for Sebastian and Maria.
We must take action.
Sebastian’s fight isn’t going to be a sprint; these things are a long haul. But we can do this.
Donate, share, and please do stay in touch by checking this page, posting comments, memories, and photos, and reading the periodic updates we post via email and Facebook.
Also, let Sebastian know that you’re thinking of him. He needs all the moral support he can get. We can only imagine what it’s like to be in prison while innocent, unable to see his kids, grieving the death of his beloved mom and cut off from contact with the world. So do reach out. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say, or don’t know how to process the situation; none of us does, above all Sebastian. The most important thing is that he hears that you're thinking about him and you're doing what you can.
Here are 4 things you can do:
Donate to Sebastian’s justice fund. Give as much and as often as you can. You can give anonymously, if you need to. If you prefer to donate by check directly instead of via this crowdfunding, just e-mail us and we’ll work with you. All funds, less the handling fees incurred by this crowdfunding site, go directly to Sebastian's legal defense fund account, which is managed by Sebastian's father.
Post and forward to your friends and family and ask them to help. You may be surprised at how much people who care about you want to support YOU, even if they don’t know Sebastian or Maria personally. Make this your personal cause: Tell them you’re hurting, that you're doing what you can for a friend, and ask for their support.
Get in touch with Sebastian by mail or phone. Visit, if you can. Note: Sebastian is aware that some people are unable to contact him, and he wants you to know that he understands. If you’re one of those people and you wish to have someone relay your words of support to him, please e-mail us and we will find a way that protects you.
Reach out to mutual friends and colleagues to share emotional support. Tell them what happened, and share this crowdfunding page with them so they can show their love. Dig out photos and stories and share them here with the rest of us. We all need to hang in together and work together toward justice for Sebastian and Maria.
Find out how to write, visit, or receive phone calls from Sebastian at Pierce County Jail: https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/1932/Jail (You’ll need: Sebastian Levy Aldrete, 2017289033. E-mail us if you need help contacting him.)