There were actually two different shipping yard areas where people were murdered. Both were near the Port of Miami.
The First Yard
In what is referred to as the Shipping Yard Massacre, four people were brutally murdered by chainsaw inside a cargo container under the orders of Hector Estrada. The location was Reefer Yard, Plug 4-3-6, and the container was labeled CBAN-3489. One of the victims was Laura Moser (Dexter's birth mother). Both Dexter (age three) and his brother, Brian, witnessed the murders. They were then abandoned by the killers inside the container, and sat in blood for two days. When Officer Harry Morgan arrived on scene, he discovered Dexter and Brian in an appalling state. He first rescued Dexter, leaving Brian to be saved by the other officers. Harry later adopted Dexter, but Brian was sent to an institution and grew up without a family.
The Second Yard
Hector Estrada and Maria LaGuerta were murdered inside a different cargo container near the Port of Miami. The exact location of this container is unknown, but Dexter initially arranged to meet Estrada at 35 Quayside Road. Also, when Debra was trying to locate LaGuerta, she was told by dispatch that she was heading north to the Miami Port, by the shipping yards.
Dexter has flashbacks of watching his mother being murdered inside a cargo container.
Debra has been kidnapped by The Ice Truck Killer and he left clues behind for Dexter to find him, including screensaver with the song “Born Free” (a reference to the massacre which caused Dexter to be “born free of all that’s human”). Dexter concludes that his sister will be found in the same cargo container where his mother was murdered. Checking old newspaper photos, he finds that it was container CBAN-3489, and heads down to the docks to find it.
Dexter finds it surprisingly easy to get past the chain link fence around the docks, and makes his way past distracted guards to a small booth, where he accesses the computer records and learns the present location of the container. As he approaches it, Dexter experiences a flashback of Harry rescuing him from the bloody scene. When Dexter opens the container, expecting to find Debra inside, he finds it filled only with bananas.
Then Dexter discovers that Sgt. James Doakes has followed him there. This is when Doakes infamously says, "Surprise, Motherfucker!" to Dexter. They get into a scuffle and Dexter gets the best of Doakes before a security guard breaks it up. Doakes' suspicion that there’s another side to the mild-mannered, lab geek is confirmed.
Dexter wants to kill Hector Estrada, the man who ordered the murder of his mother. He introduces himself to Estrada under the alias, Steve Gaskill, and pretends to be looking for a partner to sell his crates of sativa. He convinces Estrada to meet him at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve to check out the product. Estrada shows up, and Dexter leads him into a cargo container where Dexter has set up a kill room. They struggle, with Estrada firing a shot, but Dexter gets the upper hand.
After telling Estrada who he is and why he is going to kill him, Dexter is about to dismember him with a chain saw (the same method used to kill his mother), when Estrada says that the police captain set him up. Dexter realizes that LaGuerta is really setting him up. LaGuerta had Estrada released from prison because she felt that Dexter would take the bait and try to kill him.
LaGuerta shows up, with backup, and closes in on the cargo container, guns drawn. However, when she enters, all she finds is a chain saw running by itself on the table, plus Dexter's plastic surroundings. Dexter and Estrada are gone. Dexter has Estrada at knife point as they flee the scene, but Estrada manages to escape, and he jumps into the harbor.
Dexter recaptures Hector Estrada and brings him back to the same container. Under coercion from Dexter, Estrada calls LaGuerta to let her know that he is back in the container and needs help. Dexter then kills Estrada and when LaGuerta arrives, he injects her with a half dose of M99. He then begins to set up the scene to look as if she and Estrada killed each other.
When Maria and Dexter don’t show up at the New Year Eve's party being held at Papa's Cafe, Debra calls dispatch to get a location on Maria's vehicle. She is told that Maria is heading north to the Miami Port, by the shipping yards. Debra immediately takes off to stop Dexter.
As Dexter is about to kill LaGuerta, Debra walks into the container. Torn between what she should do, Debra ends up killing LaGuerta herself.
Debra is treated for PTSD by Dr. Evelyn Vogel. When she brings Debra back to the same container where she killed LaGuerta, Debra imagines herself shooting Dexter instead.
Deaths in Cargo Containers
- Port of Miami is a major seaport located in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida. It is the largest passenger port in the world, and one of the largest cargo ports in the United States.
- There are thousands of cargo containers in Miami that can be bought or rented.
- Innovative ways that people use cargo containers include housing, garages, cafes, school rooms, swimming pools, shelters, saunas, studios, portable toilets, offices, emergency hospitals, and workshops.