A Cop Was Just Found Guilty for the Death of Former Child Actor

Octavio Ocaña was known to Spanish language audiences as the adorable character Benito in the long-running Mexican comedy show Vecinos [Neighbors].

MEXICO CITY— Fans of the long-running Mexican comedy Vecinos [Neighbors] were distraught after the death of 22-year-old actor Octavio Ocaña during a deadly car chase with police on the outskirts of Mexico City in October 2021. 

At the time, authorities alleged that Ocaña fled when police tried to pull him over, then during the ensuing pursuit, the actor crashed into a barrier and accidentally shot himself in the head with his own gun. His family claimed the cops were to blame for his death.


One of the police involved in the chase, Leopoldo Azuara de la Luz, was just found guilty of abuse of authority and aggravated homicide on Dec 14.

Ocaña was mostly known in Mexico for his role on Vecinos as adorable Benito Ríos who he began portraying at just six years old. The show ran for a few years in the mid-2000s before going on hiatus, then began airing again in 2017, where Ocaña returned playing an adult, but still the instantly recognizable red-haired, freckled, Benito. 

Ocaña died on Oct. 29, 2021, just weeks before the show was set to begin filming its 12th season. He was driving his jeep in Cuautitlán Izcalli, a neighbourhood just on the edge of northern Mexico City, accompanied by two friends in the afternoon, when police reportedly attempted to pull the car over. A car chase ensued, some of which was documented on video and would prove crucial to the case when it appears to show someone from the police vehicle shooting at the jeep. Later, Ocaña was found dead in the crashed jeep with a bullet wound to the head. The Mexico State police, where Cuautitlán Izcalli is located, later released a statement alleging their theory that Ocaña was drinking and driving with a loaded pistol, and accidentally shot himself after losing control of the vehicle during the pursuit.

But video would emerge days later online that showed a semi-conscious Ocaña in the crashed car that contradicted some of the evidence that was initially presented by the officers involved in the chase. His family, along with tens of thousands of online supporters and internet sleuths, quickly began alleging that the crime scene was tampered with and demanding justice. Roughly a week after his death, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he had asked a federal judge to open an official inquiry.

Azuara de la Luz was arrested in September 2022, while the officer who accompanied him in the car, identified only by his first name “Gerardo” due to Mexican privacy laws, disappeared.

On Thursday, a Mexico State judge ruled that Azuara de la Luz was guilty of being the officer seen shooting at the vehicle in the footage and to blame for Ocaña’s death. The other wanted ex-cop allegedly drove the vehicle and remains a fugitive. Azuara de la Luz will be sentenced on Dec 19.

Although the video footage of the crime scene and car chase were invaluable to disproving the cops’ version of events, the widespread sharing throughout social media caused much anguish to his family. After his death, the Ocaña family rallied to get the so-called Ocaña Ley [law] passed in Mexico State in October, that allowed people who shared images of dead victims online to be penalized.