Tag Archives: murder

Suspect At Large In La Verne Murders


Staff Reports

La Verne – On Fri., Dec. 26, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Homicide Detectives responded to the 300 block of Roughrider Road in the city of La Verne to investigate a stabbing incident. At the scene, a female adult was pronounced dead, and a male adult was transported to a local hospital in critical condition; he succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter.

Detectives learned that a Grounds Keeper found the married couple unresponsive inside the location and contacted the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station. Further investigation found the victims to be Shirley Isom, 74, and Armie “Troy” Isom, 89.

According to LASD, a multitude of detectives and forensic specialists have been involved in the investigation since the beginning. The expansive residence of the victims and its large-scale surrounding property led to a crime scene investigation that spanned several days. In addition, detectives have interviewed family members and many area residents in an effort to determine the identity of the suspect(s) and a possible motive.

At press time, no definitive conclusions have developed and diligent investigation will continue.
Detectives are working to identify and locate a Hispanic male who was seen walking on the roadways in the area around the time the crime was discovered. He was wearing a hooded jacket and was carrying a backpack on his back. It is unknown if this man is connected to the crime, but detectives are seeking to interview him.

LASD held a Press Conference on Jan. 7 to discuss the double-murder investigation thus far, and to seek the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect.

Anyone who has information about the person of interest, or anything to do with this crime, is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

Riverside: Man Sentenced To Death For Murder of Marine



Image Courtesy: Victims Families For The Death Penalty)

Riverside – On Fri., Nov. 7, a Riverside County Superior Court judge sentenced a man to death for the 2009 murders of a United States Marine Corps Sergeant, and his wife, in their home near Murrieta.

Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 27, was convicted by a Riverside County jury on Aug. 5, and that same jury decided on Aug 21 that Sykes should be put to death. Judge Christian Thierbach rendered that death sentence Nov. 7.

Sykes is the fourth and final man to be convicted of the murders of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant, Jan Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, who were found murdered in their home in the unincorporated area of Winchester-French Valley, near Murrieta.

Three of the four men were sentenced to death, while the fourth was sentenced by a jury to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sykes was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and jurors also found true the special circumstances of murder during the commission of a robbery, during the commission of a burglary, rape by instrument, and multiple murders.

In June 2013, two separate Riverside County juries found Kevin Cox, 26, Emrys John, 25, and Tyrone Miller, 27, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and also found true the special circumstances of murder during the commission of a robbery, during the commission of a burglary and multiple murders. John and Miller had one jury, and Cox had a separate jury. Those same jurors decided during the penalty phase of the trial that John and Miller should be put to death and that Cox should receive life in prison without the possibility of parole. All three were sentenced in 2013 by Judge Thierbach.

In October 2008, Jan Pietrzak and Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak were found bound and both had been shot in the head. Cox, John, and Miller all worked with Sgt. Pietrzak at one time as Marines while stationed at Camp Pendleton. Cox, John, Miller and Sykes went to the Pietrzak home to rob the victims, and then forced their way inside. Pietrzak was physically assaulted and his wife was sexually assaulted before both were murdered.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney, Daniel DeLimon.

Diamond Bar: Woman Gets 26 Years For Slaying DB Man



Carmen Montelongo (Photo Courtesy: San Bernardino Co. D.A.)

Diamond Bar/Riverside County – Samuel Wiggins, 62, of Diamond Bar, met with a gruesome death in April of 2011. He was stabbed approximately 24 times in his Diamond Bar home, and then his remains were dismembered and distributed in a variety of macabre places.

Wiggins –a retired aerospace worker – was reported missing when family could not reach him.

On Aug. 27, 2012, the Rancho Cucamonga District of the Superior Court of California delivered the Complaint that on or about Apr. 20 through May 29, 2011, the crime of willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder was committed by Carmen Montelongo, who did unlawfully and with malice aforethought murder Samuel Wiggins.

Although eye-opening, the Complaint does not capture the ghastly details of what happened after Montelongo murdered Wiggins.

Whatever the details are that led to Wiggins being stabbed 22 times in the back, and twice in the chest are unclear, although reports of sexual abuse were alleged. The trial proved that Montelongo did not stop with the murder. She disposed of the remains by distributing some parts in gardens at a former residence, obscured some at the home of a relative she was staying with, and buried the head and arms in large flower pots that she reportedly gifted family with at a home in Bell Gardens on that Mother’s Day.

It was reportedly neighbors that were prompted to contact police upon smelling decay.

Montelongo was arrested on May 29, 2011 by Ontario Police in the midst of moving a large mobile trash can containing some exhumed remains down a residential street, apparently attempting to further hide evidence.

The adult children of Montelongo were also taken into custody not long after her arrest on suspicion of helping their mother dispose of the body. Ultimately, prosecutors did not file criminal charges against them.

The trial culminated on Aug. 29 when a jury found Montelongo guilty of first-degree murder for the unlawful death of Wiggins.

Montelongo, who has also used the name Montenegro, received 26 years to life at her sentencing on Mon., Sept. 29. She has maintained her innocence throughout the course of action.



Walnut: Mora Gets 20 Years For Murder



The Mora home in Walnut, scene of a gruesome murder.

Walnut – Socorro Mora, 46, who was convicted of the brutal stabbing death of her husband, as well as the family dog, has received her sentence in Pomona Superior Court. On Tues., Sept. 9, Mora was condemned to 20 years in state prison.

Socorro and George Mora had been married since 1993, but had become estranged in 2011. That September, Socorro moved out of the home on the 21600 block of Brookside Court in Walnut that the couple shared with their four children, and then later returned to ransack the house and stab and kill the family dog, Snowflake.

George Mora, 47 at the time, was awarded custody of the children and obtained a restraining order against his wife, but to no avail. Socorro returned to the home on Oct. 19, 2011, and stabbed her husband over 30 times with multiple weapons. She called police and was found in the front yard with 22 stab wounds – some life threatening – claiming self defense. George was found dead, inside the home.

The forensic investigation later showed that Socorro’s wounds were all self-inflicted, according to court documents. Socorro was initially hospitalized, and then arrested several days later.

Socorro’s trail began in Pomona on January 28, and she entered a not-guilty plea. On May 12, a jury found Socorro guilty of second-degree murder, animal cruelty, and corporal injury of a spouse. She has remained in jail since her preliminary arrest, and will continue to do so long into the future.



Inland Empire: Search For Erin Corwin Over


Erin Corwin (Photo Courtesy: Nixle.com)

Erin Corwin (Photo Courtesy: Nixle.com)

Twentynine Palms – After an exhaustive eight-week search, the body of missing 19-year old Erin Corwin has been found.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has issued a statement that on Sun., Aug. 17, Corwin’s body was recovered from a mine shaft 140 feet below the surface at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Corwin, who was reportedly pregnant, and married to U.S. Marine corporal Jonathan Wayne Corwin, apparently left her home on Sat., June 28 heading for Joshua Tree National Park for the day. She never returned and her husband reported her missing on Sunday. Shortly thereafter, Erin’s Toyota Corolla was found.

Under investigation during the search was Christopher Lee, a former Marine with whom Erin was allegedly romantically involved. As a result of their contact authorities issued a search warrant for him. In a search of his home investigators discovered a destructive device and arrested Lee on felony charges – not related to Erin’s disappearance – for its possession. He was released two days later.

The search for Erin under what authorities called, “suspicious circumstances,” included the assistance of nearly 5,000 volunteer hours over approximately 300 square miles, including the areas of Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, Amboy, the local Marine base, and areas of the Bureau of Land Management. Sheriff’s authorities state that aerial searches identified more than 100 mine shafts and numerous bodies of water in the area and recruited the assistance of the Technical Cave and Mine Teams, specialized dive teams, and the County Fire Urban Search and Rescue Team. Using video equipment a body was located in an abandoned mine on federal property.

Once Erin was identified, Lee was arrested for her murder in Anchorage, Alaska that same night. An autopsy conducted on August 18 determined her death to be a homicide.

This investigation is still ongoing, and authorities are asking anyone with information about Erin Corwin to contact the Sheriff’ Specialized Investigation Division at (909)) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com

Pomona: Gang Convicted of Multiple Crimes


Robert Louis Caballero (Photo Courtesy: City of Chino)

Robert Louis Caballero (Photo Courtesy: City of Chino)

Pomona – Three members of the 12th Street Gang were found guilty of a series of murders and kidnappings on Thurs., Aug. 14.

According to the Pomona Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Robert Louis Caballero, 37, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, evading an officer and willful disregard. The jury deliberated for two days before their findings, along with the special circumstances of lying in wait, murder during the course of a kidnapping, and multiple murders.

Another defendant, Pete Trejo, Jr., 32, was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and the special circumstances of lying in wait, and murder during the course of a kidnapping.

A third defendant, Andrew Valenzuela, 23, was also convicted of one count of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and the special circumstances of murder during the course of a kidnapping.

The crimes began on Sept., 29, 2009, when Caballero killed Armando Vidana, a Cherryville gang member. Vidana was shot eight times and his body was left in the street in Pomona.

The Pomona Police Department further states that on Nov. 5, 2009, Caballero was at home with an 18-year old kidnapped victim, along with his cousin David Padilla, and a Lorraine Minjarez. During the visit, Caballero became suspicious of Minjarez and believed she was going to tell police that he killed Vidana. Caballero lured Minjarez to a nearby vehicle driven by his cousin, with the kidnapped victim also seated in the car. From that location they picked up the codefendant, Trejo.

During the ride, Caballero directed the driver to take them to Mt. Baldy. After they arrived, Caballero then directed Trejo to dig a grave while he strangled Minjarez. Once she was killed, Trejo buried her body and Caballero ordered the kidnapped victim to hide the evidence.

The next day, suspicious of Padilla’s loyalty to him, Caballero lured his cousin to a remote freeway overpass. Once there, he directed codefendant Valenzuela to strangle Padilla while forcing the kidnapped victim to watch. Prosecutors stated that Valenzuela strangled and beat Padilla to death with rocks.

                Pomona Police homicide detectives investigated the initial homicide that occurred on Sept., 29, 2009. Caballero was eventually identified as the suspect in this homicide and a manhunt was conducted.  On Nov. 7, 2009, Caballero was located and a pursuit was initiated by Pomona Police Officers.  Caballero fled on foot from the pursuit vehicle in Montclair and after a lengthy search, he was located.

                The investigation was continued by Pomona Police Homicide Detectives and they eventually located two additional homicide victims.  One was located in Mt. Baldy on a hillside (investigated by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department). The other victim was located in Chino (investigated by the Chino Police Department).

Valenzuela was eventually charged with the indicated crimes as well.  He was also located in Pomona by Pomona Police Officers after being involved in a pursuit.  Trejo was also charged and he was eventually arrested after a murder warrant was issued.

Trejo and Valenzuela are scheduled to be sentenced October 3 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. They face a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The penalty phase for Caballero began on August 19.


Claremont Woman Found Fatally Shot



Pomona – Eloisa Salas Lara, 37, a resident of Claremont, was found fatally shot in the early morning hours on Mon., June 16.


Pomona Police responded at approximately 2:55 a.m. to multiple 911 calls reporting gun shots heard in the area of the 700 block of San Francisco Avenue in Pomona. According to the police report, officers located the victim in the rear area of a carport, and found that she had been shot several times. The Los Angeles County Fire Department pronounced her dead at the scene.


Lara did not have any identification in her possession at the scene, and the Coroner’s office has confirmed her ID. Police detectives are now trying trace her activities on the evening of the shooting and determine possible suspects. One resident near the carport allegedly hear the shots, and cars speeding away from the area at the time of the incident.


Anyone with information regarding this homicide is urged to contact the Pomona Police Department’s Detective Bureau at (909) 620-2085. For anyone wishing to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477, or “We-Tip” at (800) 782-7463.



Orange County: Mission Viejo Family Murder-Suicide



Orange County – A beloved family of four is dead from an alleged murder-suicide in an upscale neighborhood in Mission Viejo.


On Tues., May 27, at approximately 9 a.m., authorities responded to the 25600 block of Pacific Hills Drive to discover the bodies of two males and two females. Orange County Sheriff’s investigators have identified the deceased as Mark Sheer, 55; Lydia Sheer, 54; Michael Sheer, 21, and Amy Sheer, 15; all related and living together in the home. The Sheer family was very involved at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church, where Mark and Lydia reportedly taught Bible Studies.


Neighbors allegedly heard gunshots, or “fireworks,” on Memorial Day and in the early morning hours of Mon., May 26, sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of the same and a male yelling in the area near Pacific Hills Road. Deputies patrolled the area for several minutes but were unable to locate anything to substantiate the report. Sheriff’s were again contacted on Tuesday when a relative was not able to reach the family. The two incidents appear related.


According to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department, preliminary evidence suggests that Michael Sheer is suspected of shooting his father, mother and sister with a shotgun prior to turning the gun on himself.


Reports from neighbors, friends and fellow church parishioners are filled with shock and dismay regarding this highly-praised family. Perhaps they will never know the reasons for this tragedy, although authorities are investigating motive.


Anyone with additional information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call the Orange County

Sheriff’s Department Homicide Unit at (714) 647-7055. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange

County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS ((855) 847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.


Pomona: Murder Suicide Tragedy


Pomona – Tragedy struck a residential home in the City of Pomona when a man, after allegedly calling his brother to reveal his plans just moments before he attacked, shot his girlfriend, her brother, her mother, and then himself, in an ugly turn of events late Thurs., May 8.

According to a news release from the Pomona Police Department, officers discovered the bodies in the 2100 block of Ramsey Way just before 11 p.m. The victims, who apparently all lived together at the residence, were dead at the scene in their individual bedrooms. They are reportedly described by a relative as 25-year old Mariana Padilla, her 17-year old brother, Juan Padilla, and their mother, Manuela Padilla, 52.

While there is speculation of a domestic dispute, motive has not yet been determined. The news release further stated that the suspect, whose name has not been released, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and was found in the same room as his girlfriend. A handgun was recovered near the body and is believed to be the murder weapon.

Witnesses who might have information related to this homicide investigation are encouraged to contact Pomona Detectives at (909) 620-2085. Witnesses may remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477, or We-Tip at (800) 782-7463.

Walnut: Mora Found Guilty of Murder


Mora House (Photo Courtesy: Michael Armijo)


Walnut – On Mon., May 12, a jury found 46-year old Socorro Mora guilty for the second-degree murder of her husband, animal cruelty, and corporal injury to a spouse.

In October of 2011 (see ANAPR story: Walnut Woman Goes To Trial for Murder), Mora was accused of the stabbing death of her husband, George Mora, 47 at the time, in the home he shared with the couple’s four children on the 21600 block of Brookside Court in Walnut. There was much controversy surrounding the circumstances, as Socorro was found in front of the home with stab injuries, which were subsequently found to be self-inflicted. George was found by authorities inside, dead from multiple stab wounds.

George had obtained a restraining order against his wife just three weeks before he was killed due to the increasing violence – including the killing of the family dog – of his estranged wife. The couple had been married since 1993, but had separated in 2011.

With a Not Guilty plea entered by Socorro in a trial that began January 28 in Pomona Superior Court, she has been jailed in lieu of $5 million bail since the arrest, just five days after the stabbing attack. The jury has disagreed with her plea, and she has been convicted with sentencing set for June 24. Socorro faces 20 years to life.

Chino: Wife Killer’s Parole Overturned by Gov. Brown



Chino – Convicted killer Samuel Dubyak’s parole has been overturned by Governor Jerry Brown. The State Parole Board had recommended the former Chino resident’s release from Soledad State Prison in Northern California.


In a written statement from Brown’s office, the Governor said, “Mr. Dubyak’s claim of innocence is not believable. I am troubled by Mr. Dubyak’s lack of remorse and empathy.”

Lourdes Dubyak’s body has never been found, but the evidence was strong enough to convict Samuel Dubyak of first-degree murder in 1987. According to a pre-sentencing report, Dolores and Samuel had been having marital problems and Dolores was considering divorce. She had also been having at least one affair. She was last seen alive on Aug. 11, 1985 by a close friend after her lover had dropped her off at home.


Samuel Dubyak had never had any adult convictions, is a college graduate and had a steady job, making him an unlikely suspect. However, Dubyak did not report his wife missing until four weeks later. Again, according to pre-sentencing reports, he said that she had disappeared after making a phone call and telling him she needed to go out for awhile. Dubyak claims that she was gone when he awoke the next morning.


Later, police learned that Dubyak’s brother and neighbor had disposed of the couple’s bed. In the written statement from the Governor’s office this item was recorded, “The bed had a bullet hole through the mattress and box spring, and a 22-caliber (bullet was) lodged in the box springs. Traces of blood were also found in their room,”


Other evidence such as blood in the hatchback of his vehicle, a forged typewritten letter suggesting Lourdes Dubyak was in Mexico City, as well as other inconsistencies, raised speculation. Samuel Dubyak still continues to deny any involvement in this murder and at a 2012 parole hearing he claimed that he had bought a new mattress and dumped the old one, but someone else must have shot the old one.


The Governor, in his written statement, encouraged Dubyak to “continue his efforts to develop insight into the factors that contributed to his crime.”


Orange County: Murder Suspects Arraigned

BY EMILY LUNDBERGicon.crime.weekly.news

Santa Ana – Suspects in Orange County’s serial homicides were arraigned on March 15 according to a press release from the Anaheim Police Department. The arraignment came a little more than a month after their arrests on March 11.

The suspects, Franco Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were arrested for murdering four women, three of which were last seen in Santa Ana. The victims are as follows: Kiana Jackson, 20, a resident of Las Vegas who was last seen in Santa Ana on Oct. 6, 2013; Josephine Vargas, 34, a resident of Santa Ana who was last seen there on Oct. 24, 2013; Martha Anaya, 28, a resident of Santa Ana who was last seen there on Nov. 12, 2013; and Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, an Oklahoma resident whose body was found on March 14 at an Anaheim recycling center. Estepp’s is the only body that has been found.

Detectives from the Anaheim and Santa Ana Police Departments are currently trying to identify a fifth victim who was last seen between February 14 and 16 near Katella Avenue. The victim is believed to be a petite African American woman in her early 20s.

Both Cano and Gordon have been previously convicted of committing “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under fourteen years of age,” according to California’s Sex Offender Registry. At the time of the crimes, both men were wearing GPS bracelets to track them because of these prior offenses. A Los Angeles County press release reported that both men had previously cut off their bracelets and fled to Nevada before being arrested again in 2012. Los Angeles County Supervisor, Michael Antonovoich, said, “This illustrates the fact that the ankle bracelets and GPS monitoring do not prevent crime.” Indeed this incident does provoke questions regarding the true effectiveness of bracelets including the extent to which they should be trusted to control and monitor criminals.

Walnut: Local Woman Goes To Trial for Murder


Walnut – A woman accused of fatally stabbing her estranged husband is scheduled for trial in Pomona Superior Court, beginning January 28, 2014.

Socorro Mora, 45, of Walnut, has been charged with murdering George Mora, 47, in his home back in October of 2011. Deputies responding at that time to a domestic violence call on the 21600 block of Brookside Court in Walnut, found George inside the home, dead from multiple stabbings.

Socorro was found in front of the home, where George lived with the couple’s four children (who were not home at the time). She was apparently injured from stab wounds. It was not clear how she received the injuries, but she was treated at a local hospital before being charged and booked into the regional detention center in Lynwood. She has remained there on $5 million bail.

Socorro and George Mora had been married since 1993, but had separated in September 2011. Ironically, George reportedly obtained a restraining order against his estranged wife, just three weeks before he was killed.

There have been multiple postponements leading up to the scheduling of a trial date. Socorro is charged not only with murder, but felony complaints of increasing violence, animal cruelty (from stabbing and killing the family dog in a previous incident), and domestic violence. She has pleaded not guilty.