MONTEBELLO >> A car thief stole a minivan with a 1-year-old boy inside of it from a Montebello recycling center Thursday afternoon before being found unharmed, along with the abandoned vehicle, four hours later in Pico Rivera, authorities said.
The theft and possibly unintentional kidnapping took place about 3 p.m. at S.A. Recycling, 1545 Gage Road, Montebello police officials said.
One-year-old Caleb Castro, who was passenger in the red 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan when it was stolen, was found safe inside the minivan nearly four hours later after it was abandoned outside a Pico Rivera McDonalds restaurant, according to police.”
“The child was found inside (the minivan) safe and unharmed and is at a local hospital being looked at,” police said in a written statement.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert following the initial carjacking, Montebello police Lt. Michael Bergman.
“The suspect approached the parked vehicle, while three children sat in the car. Their mother stepped away approximately 10 feet and was going to recycle some items,” according to a police statement.
“The suspect approached the vehicle, ordered two girls — 6- and 4-year-olds out of the car,” the statement continued. But the woman’s 1-year-old son remained in the minivan.
The thief drove off in the minivan, which had the keys still in the ignition, police said.
“The mother screamed that her baby was in the car, however the suspect fled with the vehicle out of the parking lot and southbound on Gage Road,” according to the statement.
A witness who had seen the Amber Alert spotted the stolen minivan shortly before 7 p.m. in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant, 9333 W. Slauson Ave. in Pico Rivera, officials said.
The carjacker remained at large, officials said. He was described as a Latino man, about 30 years, with spiked hair. He spoke Spanish.
Suspect photo courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
PASADENA >> A Montebello man received a sentenced of more than 8 years in prison this week for allegedly threatening, kidnapping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend at an El Monte motel before she jumped from a moving car on the 60 Freeway to escape him, authorities said.
Benny Torres, 30, pleaded “no contest” Tuesday to two counts of making criminal threats, two counts of cruelty to a child, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of domestic violence in connection with the series of crimes that unfolded in October of 2014, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Darrel Mavis immediately sentenced Torres to 8 years and 4 months in state prison, and ordered him to stay away from the victim for 10 years, Ardalani said.
Following his arrest, Torres was charged with 14 criminal counts. A judge dismissed the kidnapping charge and a burglary charge following Torres’ preliminary hearing Ardalani said.
Under Tuesday’s negotiated plea arrangement, which was made with the approval of the victim, additional counts including rape and false imprisonment, were dismissed, Ardalani said.
Torres first threatened his girlfriend, a Monterey park woman in her 20s who he had dated for several months, on Oct. 3 2014, during a domestic violence incident, Ardalani said. “The defendant strangled his ex-girlfriend and warned her that he would kill her in front of her two children.”
Just over three weeks later on Oct. 27, Torres called the victim and ordered to pick him up and bring him to an El Monte motel, according to prosecutors and Monterey Park police officials.
“In fear for her life, the victim did what Torres asked,” Ardalani said.
Once at the motel, Torres refused to allow the victim to leave, threatened to kill her again and struck her in the head with a handgun.
Police alleged Torres assaulted the woman both physically and sexually while keeping her captive overnight. The following day, he took her car keys and ordered her to get into the passenger seat of her car as he drove. The terrified woman saw a chance to escape as Torres drove down the 60 Freeway in El Monte, near the 605 Freeway.
“During the car ride, the victim believed Torres would ultimately kill her,” Ardalni said. “As a result, she jumped out of the moving vehicle.”
The victim sought help and was treated for injuries suffered in the attack and escape, officials said.
Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said at the time that the woman, “bravely, by her own actions, basically saved her own life.”
The multi-agency West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force found and arrested Torres without a struggle on Nov. 4, 2014, at a relative’s home in East Los Angeles.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police jailed two men and a woman late Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery at a Santa Fe Springs liquor store.
The heist took place about 8:20 p.m. in the 11000 block of Washington Boulevard, Whittier police officials said.
Responding police officers spotted the suspects fleeing the area and tried to pull it over, officials said.
“The suspects attempted to flee, but crashed into parked car in the 8300 block of Vanport (Avenue),” police said in a written statement. The handgun used in the robbery, as well as cash, were recovered from the vehicle.
Arrested were Matthew Hoge, 22, of Montebello; Willie Jefferson, 20, of Long Beach; and Shauntel Jewel Peterson, 18, of Long Beach, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Hoge was released from custody early Thursday pending his initial court appearance after posting $50,000 bail, records show. Jefferson was being held in lieu of 75,000 bail, while Peterson was being held with a bail of $50,000.
MONTEBELLO >> A man jailed on suspicion of attacking two police officers in Whittier over the weekend is the same man sought in connection with the “senseless” and “unprovoked” beating death of a homeless man in Montebello last month, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Eric Daniel Deleon, 28, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempted murder and other charges in connection with Saturday’s attack on two Whittier police officers, which sent the lawmen to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries.
At the time of the Whittier incident, Deleon was being sought on an arrest warrant in connection with the Nov. 23 beating death of 54-year-old Fabian Ramirez, who body was discovered in a parking lot behind the 300 block of South Vail Avenue, according to Montebello police and Los Angeles County coroner officials.
Detectives arrested a second suspect in the Montebello slaying — 33-year-old Martin Bautista of Pico Rivera — the day after it occurred. He’s scheduled to appear at an arraignment hearing Dec. 16 to answer to a murder charge.
No motive was known in the fatal beating, Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros said.
“It appears to be a totally unprovoked incident. Quite honestly, it’s really alarming how senseless it is,” Calleros said.
Ramirez was sitting in the parking lot when, without a word, two men began beating him for no apparent reason, he said.
An autopsy determined Ramirez died from blunt force trauma to his head, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. The death was ruled a homicide.
Authorities were already hunting Deleon in connection with the Montebello case when Whittier officers responded to a report of a suspicious person Saturday afternoon in the 7900 block of Bright Avenue.
As the first arriving officer approached Deleon, “the suspect violently attacked the officer. A significant physical altercation took place, during which the suspect threw a metal barbecue set on top of the officer and struck the officer with a chair,” Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
A second officer who arrived a short time later to assist was also injured as officers wrestled DeLeon into custody, officials said.
Deleon was yet to be charged in connection with the Montebello homicide case. He was being held in lieu of $1.07 million bail pending a Dec. 15 hearing on the Whittier case.
Montebello detectives planned to continue building their case before presenting their findings to prosecutors for consideration of charges in the Montebello slaying.
Bautista was being held in lieu of $1.02 million bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Dec. 16, records show.
PHOTOS: Martin Baustista, 33, of Pico Rivera (left) and Eric Daniel Deleon, 28, of Pico Rivera have been arrested in connection with the allegedly unprovoked beating death of a homeless man Montebello parking lot on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (Courtesy of the Montebello Police Department)
MONTEBELLO >> Police Sunday announced that detectives have arrested one suspect and are seeking another in connection with the slaying of a man in a Montebello parking lot last week.
Detectives arrested Martin Emmannuel Bautista, 33, of Pico Rivera Wednesday on suspicion of murder in connection with the Nov. 23 slaying, Montebello police officials announced Sunday. Alleged accomplice Eric Daniel Deleon, 28, of Pico Rivera, remained at large.
“It is believed Deleon is being assisted by acquaintances to avoid being located,” Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros said in a written statement.
The body of the victim, described as a man in his 50s, was discovered shortly after noon in the 300 block of South Vail Avenue, Montebello police Sgt. Larry Jackson said.
His name remained withheld over the weekend as authorities continued working to notify his family, coroner’s officials said. The man’s cause of death also remained unknown pending an autopsy.
Officials have said it appeared two men assaulted the victim, though the nature of his injuries have not been disclosed. Police distributed sketches of two possible suspects the day after the killing.
Police arrested Bautista on suspicion of the slaying about 9 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles County booking records show. Further details regarding the circumstances of his arrest or his alleged role in the slaying were not released.
Deleon is described as Latino, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Montebello police Detective C. Adams at 323-887-01313, ext. 256 or Detective R. Zabala at 323-887-1313, ext. 254. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477.
Bautista is scheduled to appear Tuesday at an arraignment hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, records show. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.
MONTEBELLO >> Police asked the public’s help Friday in finding a woman with psychiatric problems who’s been missing since last weekend.
Melissa Lyne Rodarte, 25, left her home in Montebello about 8 a.m. Nov. 14 to go for a jog, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
She sent her father a text message in the afternoon, from an unknown phone, stating that she was at a friend’s house in Bell Gardens, police said. She texted her father later that night, and again Sunday morning, telling him her friend’s car was still not working. She hasn’t been heard from since.
“It’s not unusual for Melissa to leave home and return days later. However, she always texts her father to let him know where she is,” according to the police statement. “Melissa has been diagnosed with (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and psychosis. She hasn’t taken her medication for over a month.”
Rodarte was last seen wearing gray shorts and dark-colored top. She is Latina, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
PHOTO of Melissa Lyne Rodarte courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.
MONTEBELLO >> Police asked the public’s help in finding a distraught, at-risk teenager who disappeared after school Wednesday.
Desly Flores, 16, was last seen about 2:45 p.m. as she walked away from the Community Day School, 478 Bradshawe Street, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Flores was described as “upset and crying,” police said.
She is diagnosed with depression and anxiety, but refuses to take her prescribed medication,” according to the police statement. “Desly is also diabetic and takes medication twice a day. Desly also has a history of self-harming behaviors and is a habitual runaway.”
She is described as Latina, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 135 pounds, with green hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
MONTEBELLO >> Detectives are investigating the discovery of a man’s body in the Rio Hondo Riverbed in Montebello this weekend.
The body, initially described only that of a man was found about 4:20 p.m. Saturday, face-down in the water of an overflow flood control near Van Norman Road and Loch Lomond Drive, Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
The circumstances of the death remained unclear Sunday, officials said.
“The deceased was in advanced stages of decomposition and appears to have been at the location for an extended period of time,” Montebello police said in a written statement.
“Due to the current stage of decomposition, the cause of death, gender and or race is unknown at this time. This information will have to be determined by the coroner’s office,” according to the statement.
No obvious signs of trauma were noted on the body, Corral said. An autopsy was pending.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s crime lab investigators assisted Montebello police at the scene.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1200.
LOS ANGELES >> A Montebello man accused of chasing down and fatally shooting another man while trying to rob him of a gold necklace appeared in court Thursday, where prosecutors charged him with capital murder, authorities said.
Sean Matthew Garcia, 25, is charged with murder, with the special circumstance that the killing was committed during the course of an attempted robbery, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. He’s also accused of personally firing the AR-15-style rifle that killed Brian Gomez, 28, of Lynwood.
Gomez was trying to sell a gold necklace for about $2,000 when Gomez answered an online add and arranged to meet in the 1600 block of Neil Armstrong Street Monday afternoon, Montebello police and district attorney’s official said.
Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure described the attack as an “ambush.”
After the men met, Garcia pulled an assault rifle from a nearby bush and firing toward Gomez’s feet, Risling said. Gomez ran.
“When Gomez stopped and reached into his pocket to get the necklace, Garcia allegedly shot and killed the victim,” Risling said.
In addition to the slaying, Gomez is also charged with the robbery of an assault rifle in August, Risling said. Further details on that case were unavailable, and it was unclear if the allegedly stolen rifle was the same one used in Monday’s fatal shooting.
Because of the special circumstance alleged in the case, Garcia could potentially end up on death row if convicted as charged.
“Prosecutors will determine at a later date whether to seek capital punishment,” Risling said.
Garcia entered no plea Monday. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Oct. 22.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE] – Sean Garcia, 25, of Montbello (Courtesy) [BELOW] – Brian Gomez, 28, of Lynwood. (Courtesy)
MONTEBELLO >> A senior citizen suffered serious injuries when she was stabbed during a robbery attempt outside her Montebello home late Friday, police said.
The stabbing took place about 8:20 p.m. in the 600 block of N. Hendricks Street, just north of Beverly Boulevard, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The victim, a woman in her mid-60s, had just arrived home, Montebello police Lt. Michael Bergman said.
“It sounds like she was trying to get in her front door. The attacker approached her,” he said.
The robber initially appeared to be after the woman’s purse, but the crime quickly escalated into a stabbing, Bergman said.
The woman had offered little resistance when the would-be robber, without provocation, stabbed her at least twice in the upper torso with a kitchen-style knife, the lieutenant said. He fled on foot, without obtaining anything from the woman.
The woman was taken to a hospital, Bergman said. “She’s in serious condition.”
A detailed suspect description was not available, police said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.