LA PUENTE — Sheriff’s deputies visited Nelson Elementary School Wednesday to help the school kick of Red Ribbon Week. Deputies spoke with students about topics such as drug avoidance and leadership, and students got a chance to get an up-close look at sheriff’s vehicles and equipment, Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. The deputies also handed out coloring books. “The special assignment guys deployed the remote control robot. The kids just had a fabulous time,” Cacheiro said. “We had a great time.” The visit was to mark the beginning of Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31, a national campaign urging youths to stay drug-free.
Authorities sought the public’s help Friday in locating a 22-year-old La Puente woman who vanished a little more than a week ago while believed to be en route to class at Pasadena City College.
Gale Anne Williams last spoke with relatives Sept. 25, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. She has no vehicle or cell phone and was believed to be heading to PCC. She was reported missing Oct. 1.
“Relatives say the subject has gone missing in the past, as recently as June, but not for this duration,” according to the police statement. “Inquiries with area hospitals and other facilities have been fruitless.”
Though Arcadia lies between William’s hometown of La Puente and PCC, “There is no known nexus with the subject to the City of Arcadia,” the statement said. “The missing person report has been referred to the Pasadena Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Industry Station.”
Authorities described Williams as half black and half white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with medium-length brown curly hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and blue shirt and black leggings.
Anyone with information was asked to contact local law enforcement. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO of Gale Williams courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
In addition to the plants, they also seized high intensity lights, fans, blowers and ducting components.
Sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said the La Puente Special Assignment Team started an investigation about three weeks ago after receiving several tips about suspicious activity at a rental house in the 500 block of Chatterton Avenue.
Full story by Ruby Gonzales
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
A Norwalk jury is deliberating the fate of a Los Angeles man accused of murdering two San Gabriel Valley men and a Mexico man after luring them with an offer to sell a car in South Whittier nearly 10 years ago.
Briaell Lee could face the death penalty if convicted of the three counts of murder with which he has been charged.
He’s accused of the fatal Jan. 27, 2004, fatal shootings of Mario Larios, 23, of West Covina, his cousin Edgar Valles, 22, of La Puente and their friend, Fernando Pina, 25, of Mexico, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said. The men were slain when they arrived at the South Whittier home of Lee’s co-defendant, Cimarron Bell, 39, to discuss purchasing a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for $8,500.
None of the three men knew Lee or Bell prior to meeting them to discuss the car sale, prosecutors said.
Following the conclusion of closing arguments in the case, the Norwalk Superior Court jury began deliberating Thursday, court officials said.
Co-defendant Cimarron Bell of South Whittier has already been convicted of these three murders, as well as another, and sentenced to death in August of 2011. Bell was also convicted of the murder of his 22-year-old girlfriend Ineka Edmondson of Compton, whose body was found Nov. 12, 2003, in a car at a La Habra industrial park.
In addition to the murders, Lee and Bell were further accused of the special allegations multiple murders, murder for financial gain and lying in wait, allegations Bell’s jury found to be true, making him eligible for capital punishment, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The three would-be car buyers were killed solely for their money, Edmondson’s slaying also involved personal motives on the part of Bell, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Todd Hicks, who prosecuted Bell along with Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee.
Hanisee described the alleged murder-for-money plot as “very egregious,” targeting “particularly innocent and vulnerable victims.
In Edmondson’s slaying, Bell, who was involved in a check-cashing scheme with the woman and believed she was stealing from him, arranged a fatal ambush.
He called her to meet him at Morgan Metals, where he worked and kissed her hello before shooting her three times in the head at close range, D.A.’s officials said.
According to county booking records, Lee had been held without bail pending trial since his arrest in February of 2004.
PHOTOS of Briaell Lee, above, and Cimarrom Bell, below, by Staff Photographer Leo Jarzomb
LA PUENTE — Homicide detectives are seeking clues into the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old La Puente father in a driveway in front of his home late Thursday, authorities said.
Tomas Salas died at the scene of the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Little information was available regarding the 11:13 p.m. attack, which occurred in a shared residential driveway on Sierra Vista Court at Gilwood Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“The individual was by himself in a driveway,” Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “Witnesses heard a gunshot and came out and found him.”
A family member found Salas wounded in the “upper torso” and called for help, she said.
While several people reported hearing a gunshot or gunshots, no eyewitnesses to the shooting had been located Friday, officials said.
No arrests had been made early Friday, and no suspect description was available.
Salas is survived by a two year-old daughter named Kaylene, his girlfriend and the girl’s mother Krystle Silva said. He had been staying with Silva and Silva’s 10-year-old daughter, Samantha Rodriguez, who also had a close relationship with him.
Silva said she was inside her apartment folding laundry and Salas was just outside talking to his niece on his cell phone when she heard gunshots.
“When I looked outside, he was lying face-first on the grass,” she said.
“I put my arms around him just to let him know I was there,” Silva said. “When I put my arms around him, that’s when I felt all the blood and his chest was warm.”
“I told him to hang on. (Help) is coming. I told him he can’t leave. Kaylene needs him.”
Silva was still trying to breathe when paramedics arrived, Silva said.
The paramedics walked over to Salas and checked his pulse before laying him on his back she said.
Francisco said the shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.
Silva confirmed that Salas was involved with a local street gang. She added that his association with a gang did not justify his slaying, however it may have played a role in it.
“I don’t know who did this or why they did it,” she said. “Whatever happened, it was gang-related.”
Silva’s eyes filled with tears as she spoke of Salas.
“He was my world,” she said. “I love him with every part of me.”
The couple had been dating for four years, but had only recently gotten back together about two weeks ago after being separated for nine months, Silva said.
But even when living separately from Silva, Salas remained a dedicated father and went to court to obtain three days of custody per week.
“He loved his daughter. Everything he did was for her,” Silva said.
The energetic 2-year-old happily exclaimed “daddy” upon seeing a picture of her father. Silva said she has asked several times when her father is coming home, to which she responds that her father is an angel now.
Salas had been laid off from his job at a landfill , where he had worked for about a year, a month ago, Silva said.
She described him as friendly and funny.
“He was always joking. He was goofy. He was silly,” Silva said. “He was a very happy, outgoing guy who liked to have fun. He was just a great dad.”
Tomas Salas, 23, of La Puente (center) was fatally shot near his home in the 15800 block of Sierra Vista Court late Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. He’s pictured celebrating his 22nd birthday with daughter Kaylene Salas (lap), girlfriend Kristle Silva (right) and Silva’s daughter Samantha Rosriguez (left). (Courtesy)
A La Puente woman has been charged with 25 felony counts for promising to help more than a dozen people already in financial trouble get quick and easy loans, but instead using their personal information to steal from them, officials announced Thursday.
Si H. Liu, also known as Katie, 44, of La Puente, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including burglary, grand theft, using an access card and possession of access card information, according to Monterey Park police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. She was arrested at her home July 12.
Sixteen victims had been confirmed, with additional victims yet to be contacted by police, Lt. Carrie Mazelin said.
“There might be more who haven’t reported it,” the lieutenant said.
“It started with one original report (in June),” she explained.
After launching an investigation and finding Liu in possession of other people’s sensitive documents and credit cards, detectives linked the suspect to similar crimes throughout the San Gabriel Valley, Mazelin said. Many of the known victims were located in Monterey Park, though some came from as far away as Hacienda Heights.
Liu would take out adds in Chinese language publications such as the Chinese Daily News, according to the police statement.
“Liu asked victims for their identification, social security numbers, and all of their credit cards so that she could ‘check their credit’ in order to obtain loans,” according to the statement. “Instead,Liu allegedly used the credit cards to obtain cash for herself using a credit card machine that she owned.”
Some of the victims also reported that Liu would accompany them to stores, such as Best Buy, where she would instruct them to open up a credit account as a way of building their credit, Mazelin said. Liu would instruct the victims to buy items for her, promising to pay them back, but never did.
The total amount of the alleged theft was not available Thursday, however some of the victims lost thousands of dollars, Mazelin said.
Liu would eventually return the victims’ credit cards, IDs and other documents, but only after making color copies, “possibly for the purpose of committing fraud and identity theft in the future,” the police statement said.
Liu, who speaks both Mandarin and English, has lived in the United Stated for about 10 years, officials said. She represents herself as a real estate agent and may also own a massage business in Fullerton.
Additional victims, or anyone with information was asked to contact Monterey Park police Detective Han at 626-307-1246.
According to officials and court records, Liu was being held in lieu of $560,000 bail pending her next court appearance July 30 in Alhambra Superior Court.
BOOKING PHOTO courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department
LA PUENTE — A La Puente man is suspected of drunken driving after crashing into a sheriff’s patrol car early Thursday, authorities said.
The 3 a.m. crash on Hacienda Boulevard at Ector Street resulted in major damage to the patrol car, but no serious injuries to either the deputy or the suspect, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said in a written statement.
Salvador Sanchez, 27, was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving after being treated for minor injuries, Boese said.
He was at the wheel of a Honda Civic and was turning left from northbound Hacienda Boulevard to Ector Street when the Honda struck the left front portion of the patrol car, which was southbound on Hacienda Boulevard, Boese said.
The impact caused the deputy to lose control of the patrol car, he said.
“The patrol car traveled across the southbound lanes of Hacienda Boulevard, eventually jumping onto the west sidewalk and crashing into a concrete light pole,” Boese said. The pole fell over on top of the patrol car.
The deputy managed to get out of the wrecked patrol car on his own and was taken to a hospital for evaluation before being released later in the day, officials said.
Deputies determined that Sanchez was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and arrested him at the hospital before booking him into jail, Boese said.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
WEST COVINA — Authorities Friday released the name of an 83-year-old La Puente man killed in a two-vehicle crash on Shadow Oak Drive.
Carmen Manriquez died in the crash, which occurred just after 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Shadow Oak and Shakespeare drives, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was driving a Ford Focus that collided with a Honda Pilot in the intersection, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
Manriquez was turning left from northbound Shakespeare Drive to westbound Shadow Oak, he said.
The Honda, which was being driven west on Shadow Oak Drive by a woman in her early-20s, collided with the Focus, officials said. Paramedics pronounced Manriquez dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, however nothing criminal was initially suspected, Cirrito said.
Coroner’s officials Saturday identified a 60-year-old La Puente woman killed in a wrong-way collision involving a school bus.
Orieta Noriega died in the crash, which was reported about 12:50 p.m. Friday on westbound Beverly Boulevard near the 605 Freeway, on the border between Whittier and Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. Though initially described by California Highway Patrol officials as a Los Angeles residents, coroner’s officials listed her city of residence as La Puente.
Her car was on the wrong side of the road when it collided with a 2010 Lexus IS 250 and a school bus carrying 10 students from La Serna High School, CHP Sgt. Joe Zizi said in a written statement.
She was driving a 2009 Toyota Camry east on Beverly Boulevard when, “For reasons still under investigation, (Noriega) allowed her Toyota to veer into westbound lanes, directly in front of the school bus and the Lexus,” Zizi said.
Paramedics pronounced Noriega dead at the scene.
All ten high school students aboard the Pupil Transportation Cooperative bus, as well as the driver — a 46-year-old La Habra woman — were unharmed, officials said.
A 63-year-old Montebello woman who was behind the wheel of the Lexus was treated for minor injuries, Zizi said.
Authorities shut down Beverly Boulevard around the crash scene for about three hours as they investigated the scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by officers from the Santa Fe Springs office of the CHP.
LA PUENTE — Three former La Puente High School soccer players have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the sexually violent hazing of fellow students last year, officials said Wednesday.
The teenagers, whose names have not been released because they were juveniles at the time of the crimes, were accused of taking part in hazing rituals which included sodomizing other players with a javelin, officials said.
At an May 14 hearing before a juvenile court judge, all three defendants pleaded guilty or no contest to charges leveled in connection with the attacks, which took place between April and August of 2012, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
A 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man, who was 17 at the time of the hazing, pleaded no contest to one felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of hazing, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
A third defendant, who is 17 years old, admitted a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, in the form of a broken flagpole, as well as a misdemeanor count of hazing, Davila-Morales said.
The now-18-year-old defendant was sentenced to three months in a juvenile camp, Davila-Morales said.
The 16 – and 17-year old boys were each sentenced to probation, she said.
“There is not a set term, but the minor(s) can be put on probation to the juvenile court until age 21,” Davila-Morales said.