MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A lawyer representing the estate of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez is pushing back against rumors that Fernandez's family is somehow benefiting from the superstar's death.
Attorney Ralph Fernandez, no relation, said that Maritza Fernandez's southwest Miami-Dade County home is in foreclosure and that Jose Fernandez's baby daughter, Penelope, has received no money.
"I lost the biggest support I had, and now the house is in foreclosure. I'm bracing for the worst," said the pitcher's mother, Maritza Fernandez.
Ralph Fernandez recently filed a 167-page response to the multimillion-dollar lawsuit holding Jose Fernandez responsible for the deaths of Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero in the high-speed boat crash.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's final report said Jose Fernandez was operating the boat when it crashed into a jetty at Government Cut on Sept. 25, 2016. The report found the 32-foot center console boat, named Caught Looking, was traveling at 65 mph when it crashed.
Investigators said Jose Fernandez's DNA was found on the boat's steering wheel and throttle, leading them to conclude Jose Fernandez was operating the boat in "a reckless manner." An autopsy found that he had been using cocaine and alcohol before the crash.
Ralph Fernandez's lawsuit alleges investigators planted evidence to make it appear Jose Fernandez was driving the boat. The lawsuit also maintains that someone spiked Jose Fernandez's drinks with illegal drugs before the crash.
"I think there was an evolution in this case from a mistake to a coverup. And then a creation to defend the position," Ralph Fernandez said.
Ralph Fernandez said the FWC report has led to consequences.
"There was supposed to be a street naming, a park, a statue, and now because of the bad info in this report going public, it's all gone," Ralph Fernandez said.
Maritza Fernandez said she received a phone call last month from Marlins management. Team officials asked her to clear out her son's old locker, which she believed would remain untouched as a clubhouse memorial.
The Marlins said in a statement: "We have remained in constant contact with Jose's family and wanted to provide an appropriate lasting memorial to Jose. We discussed all of these plans with his family."