Bassett man killed in two-car crash identified

Authorities Friday identified a Bassett man killed in a car crash in West Valinda.
Robert Michael Jacquez, 47, died at the scene of Thursday’s 2:30 p.m. crash in the intersection of Temple and Millbury avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was driving a 1993 Geo Prizm south on Millbury Avenue when his car collided with a 1994 Acura that was westbound on Temple Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
“After (Jacquez) stopped his vehicle at a stop sign, he proceeded to drive in a southerly direction through the intersection and drove directly into the path of (the Acura),” CHP Officer Louis Borunda said in a written statement. There is no stop sign for traffic on Temple Avenue.
Paramedics pronounced Jacquez dead at 2:56 p.m., Winter said.
The 19-year-old La Puente man driving the Acura and his 17-year-old brother, who was a passenger, suffered minor minor injuries in the crash, Borunda said.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP are investigating the collision.

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Man killed in two-car crash in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — A man died Thursday in a two-car crash in a West Valinda intersection, authorities said.
The crash was reported about 2:40 p.m. at Temple Avenue and Millbury Street, California Highway Patrol officer Christian Cracraft said.
The circumstances of the crash, which involved a Chevrolet Prism and an Acura, were being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP, officials said.

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Car-to-car shooting reported in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — A car was struck by bullets but no injuries were reported in a car-to-car shooting early Sunday, authorities said.
A local resident estimated to be about 30 years old was driving in the area of Ragus and League avenues when someone inside a vehicle described only as a pickup truck opened fire, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Arthur Scott said.
“The driver was not hit,” Scott said. “The vehicle was hit numerous times.”
A description of the shooter was not available, and a motive in the shooting was unclear.
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UPDATE: Suspect in 2010 East Valinda slaying released from custody

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A man accused of the fatal shooting of another man outside an East Valinda house party more than two years ago was released from jail Wednesday after a jury hung for the second time, authorities said.
Jonathan Lopez, 20, of La Puente was released from custody after Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials announced they would not re-file the case, according to court officials and records.
Lopez had been behind bars since September of 2010, when he was identified as a suspect in the Feb. 27, 2010, fatal shooting of 24-year-old Emilio Borges of Hacienda Heights in the 17000 block of Boulay Street in East Valinda.
Lopez was arrested Sept. 30, 2010, following seven months of investigation by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
A jury deadlocked on a verdict in the case on June 8, resulting in a mistrial, then again in the second trial, which concluded Sept. 24, Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna said.
At a hearing Wednesday, the prosecution announced it would not re-file the murder case against Lopez, officials said.
Though 17-years-old at the time of the killing, Lopez was charged as an adult.
The defense attorney in the case could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Borges was leaving the party in a car with another man and woman when a shooter opened fire on the occupants, fatally wounding Borges and inflicting a graze wound to the other man inside the car, Sgt. Brian Schoonmaker of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said shortly after Lopez’s arrest.
Emilio Borges’ uncle, Lawrence Ruiz, said he was disappointed by the news and believed the case was damaged because witnesses were afraid to come forward and cooperate with investigators. “Nobody wanted to come out,” he said.
Serna and detectives said they believed there were numerous witnesses to the shooting who never came forward.
“There was testimony that the main eyewitness was threatened in the week before trial,” Serna said.
“It’s injustice,” Ruiz said. “He’s walking free while my nephew is in the ground.”
A husband and father of two, the uncle said, Borges was “a family man.”
“He’d take the shirt off his back if you needed it,” Ruiz added.
Borges was attending Mt. SAC and learning the welding trade, his uncle said.
“He had his whole life ahead of him.”
The investigation continues.
Ruiz urged anyone with information to come forward. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
PHOTO of Emilio Borges: courtesy
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Two hurt in three-vehicle crash on Sunset Avenue in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — Good Samaritans pulled a 73-year-old driver from his burning car Thursday following a three-vehicle crash that sent two people to the hospital, authorities said.
The crash took place about 4:25 p.m. on Sunset Avenue, just north of Amar Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Paulson said.
A 73-year-old man was driving an older-model sedan southbound in the fast lane of Sunset Avenue when, “for unknown reasons, it drifted into northbound lanes,” the officer said.
A man in his late-20s or early-30s driving a Verizon work truck northbound on Sunset Avenue swerved to avoid the car but was struck, causing the truck to tumble onto its side, Paulson said.
A woman estimated to be in her 60s was also northbound on Sunset Avenue in an SUV when the crash occurred and was unable to avoid striking the rear of the work truck, he said. The impact sent her car crashing through a cinder block wall lining the east side of the road. No one on the other side was hurt.
The sedan being driven by the 73-year-old caught fire after the crash, and witnesses pulled him to safety, Paulson said. He was hospitalized with injuries including a possible broken leg.
The woman driving the SUV was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain, Paulson said, though her injuries were initially believed to be minor.
The driver of the work truck, who managed to climb out of his overturned truck following the crash, declined to be taken to a hospital.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.
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Police: Body found in East Valinda identified as Orange County homicide victim

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The body of a woman discovered in East Valinda last month has been identified as the girlfriend of an Orange County man who led officers on a chase that shut down a busy freeway for an hour last week, police said Saturday.
Shazer Fernando Limas, 31, was arrested early Friday following the chase on Interstate 5. He is suspected of killing his girlfriend, Arlet Hernandez Contreras, 31, and the couple’s two young boys.
Detectives found evidence in his apartment indicating that the victims were killed about three weeks ago and the bodies were dumped elsewhere.
Detectives located her body late Friday when they contacted the Los Angeles Coroner’s office to see if the facility had any unidentified female bodies. They learned that county workers found one that appeared to have stab wounds on April 25 in the unincorporated Los Angeles County area of East Valinda, police Sgt. Dan Adams said.
The couple’s 4-month-old and 2-year-old sons remain missing, Adams said.
Two Los Angeles County Department of Public Works crew members were working in the area of MacLaren Street and Alderton Avenue when they spotted a tarp with something beneath is and noticed a foul, suspicious odor coming from it, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works spokeswoman Kerjon Lee said at the time.
The workers left the tarp as it was found and called authorities, who responded to the scene and discovered the body, he said.
Public works officials added that the area where the body was found is known as a “hot spot” for illegal dumping of trash and other items.
Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s investigators performed an autopsy on the body.
“The cause of death was homicide due to multiple stab wounds,” coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral said.
Fernando Limas came to police’s attention after he moved out of the apartment he shared with Contreras and someone sent to clean the carpets found them covered in blood.
Fernando Limas was spotted in the Costa Mesa area late Thursday afternoon. When police tried to stop him, he fled on what became a freeway chase that ended near the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near San Onofre. A spike strip was used to flatten the tires on his Nissan 350Z.
Adams said evidence from the apartment indicated the victims were killed after an altercation.
Investigators searched surrounding counties and used cadaver-sniffing dogs to search the nearby Brea dump in case the bodies were placed in a trash container at the apartment complex.
However, they didn’t find any bodies.
PHOTO (AP) of Shazer Limas courtesy of the Orange Police Department.
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Victim identified, information sought in West Valinda shooting

WEST VALINDA — Authorities Thursday released the name of a 27-year-old man who died earlier this week after being wounded in a weekend shooting outside a small birthday celebration at his home.
Abelardo Madrid was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
Madrid had been hospitalized in “extremely critical condition” since Saturday’s shooting, which took place shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday in the 1300 block Evanwood Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of West Valinda, according to Lt. David Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Madrid was standing in a residential driveway when a car and an SUV pulled up, investigators said. One attacker exited one of the cars and briefly confronted Madrid before opening fire.
“Something was said that we don’t know at this point,” Detective Kevin Acebedo said. “There were gunshots immediately after.”
Madrid appeared to have been shot twice, including at least one wound to the head, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
Investigators said the shooting initially appeared to be gang-related.
Acevedo said there were no indications Madrid had gang ties, however, “We do believe the suspects were probably gang members.”
There was a small family gathering at the home at the time of the shooting to celebrate the birthday of an adult, detectives said.
Officials described the involved vehicles as a silver SUV and a compact car, possibly white in color. No description of the suspects themselves was available.
Acevedo asked that anyone with information contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can can also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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One of two men arrested in connection with West Valinda home-invasion released

WEST VALINDA — One of two men arrested in connection with a home invasion robbery in West Valinda earlier this week has been released from jail, officials said.
Francisco Aceves, 20, of West Valinda and Juan Morfin, 24, of La Puente, were arrested after being spotted in the area following the Thursday’s 12:30 p.m. robbery at a home on Sandia Avenue, officials said.
Aceves was released from jail without charges Friday afternoon, according to county booking records. Officials at the sheriff’s Industry Station said he was released pending further investigation.
Morfin, however, remained jailed Saturday in lieu of $205,000 bail pending his scheduled arraignment Monday in El Monte Superior Court.
One of the victims of the robbery, who asked that her name be withheld for fear of retaliation, said she had doubts that deputies had arrested the men responsible for the robbery.
A family member of Morfin, who also asked that her name be withheld for fear of retaliation, said she can’t believe he was involved in the robbery.
“It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not in his character. He’s not on drugs. He’s not a bad kid,” the relative said. “He just happened to fit the profile.”
Morfin had been with family members at a nearby home just before the robbery, and his mother had just sent him to the store when he was arrested, the family member said.
Morfin may have run from deputies who tried to talk to him because of an outstanding warrant related to a fishing violation, the family member said.
“He has anxiety,” she added. “He rarely leaves (home). I just think he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Robbers forced there way into the home, which a man and his girlfriend had been working to fix up following a fire last month, according to investigators and the female victim. The man is in the process of inheriting the home from his father, who died last year, and the house had no fire insurance.
The homeowner had cashed out $10,000 from a life insurance policy to help repair the home, and it was the large amount of cash that was targeted in the home-invasion robbery, officials said.
A third robber, who fled the area in a black Toyota Corolla, remained at large, officials added.
The couple was pistol-whipped and kicked during the crime, said the woman, however they did not suffer serious injuries.
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Violent home-invasion reported in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — Two suspects were behind bars Friday, and another was being sought, in connection with a violent day-time home-invasion robbery of a couple already in a string of bad luck.
Taken in the heist, at a home that was scorched by fire last month, was the last of the homeowner’s money after cashing in his life insurance policy to repair the home, officials and his girlfriend said.
A man and woman were at a home in the 1000 block of Sandia Avenue shortly before 12:30 p.m. Thursday when two robbers knocked at the door, then forced their way inside, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Wilson said.
The home was damaged by a fire in February, said the woman who was robbed, who asked that her name be withheld for fear of retaliation. The woman’s boyfriend is in the process of inheriting the home from his father, who died late last year, and the home was not insured.
He had just cashed out a life insurance policy for nearly $10,000 — the last of his assets — in order to make repairs to the home. The money was hidden at the home.
It appears someone found out about the stashed cash, Wilson said, adding that it was highly unlikely the home was targeted at random.
The woman and man were in the garage of the home when they heard someone knocking out front and calling the name of the male victim, the woman said.
“We didn’t recognize the voice,” she said.
“They kicked in the side door,” she said. “They hit him with the butt of a gun and said, “Where’s the money? Then they told me to get on the ground and kicked me in my side.”
The two robbers — one of whom wore a mask – ransacked the home looking for the money, but could not find it in the place where the man and woman indicated, the woman said.
“They accused me of lying and kicked me in the head,” the woman said.
The robbers ultimately made the man come with them at gunpoint and retrieve the money, the woman said. They then quickly fled.
Throughout the incident, the men were threatening to shoot the couple, the woman added.
Deputies responding to the crime found and arrested two men on suspicion of the robbery nearby, at the corner of Amar Road and Orange Avenue, Wilson said. They were identified as Francisco Aceves, 20, of West Valinda, and Juan Morfin, 24, of La Puente.
A third robber, who Wilson said apparently fled with the stolen loot in a black Toyota Corolla, remained at-large.
The woman said she wasn’t convinced deputies had the right men in custody.
One of the two men arrested appeared white, she said, adding that both men who robbed her appeared Latino, though one of the robbers wore a mask.
The most recent incident has been devastating to the woman’s boyfriend, she said.
“He just lost his dad. Then his house caught fire. Now he’s lost everything he had,” she said. “This chain of events just doesn’t stop.”
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Shots fired during carjacking in East Valinda

EAST VALINDA – A robber fired several times into the air to force a driver to hand over his car keys Wednesday night.
Sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said the driver wasn’t injured during the carjacking in the 400 block of Vidalia Avenue.
It was around 6 p.m when a man walked up to the driver and demanded the keys to his dark gray Toyota Camry, according to Enriquez.
When the driver refused, he said the suspect then shot into the air. The robber drove off with the Camry which has the license plate number 5TPN136.
The suspect was described as between 20 to 25, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 150 to 160 pounds.
- Ruby Gonzales
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