Investigation into San Ardo Double Homicide Has New Twist
The prime suspect in a double homicide and alleged kidnapping in south Monterey County has been released, leading to yet another twist in the complex case.
According to Monterey County Jail staff, Juan Manuel Salazar Jr., 19, was freed from custody Thursday night after being booked into county jail after he and his girlfriend, Eunice Serrato, 16, turned themselves into border patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border a week ago, after the girl was reported kidnapped.
The two became the focus of the investigation after Hector Reyes, 22, and Daniel Fraga, 25, were found shot dead July 28 in the bathroom of the San Ardo home of Serrato’s parents. Chuck Olvis, a county managing deputy district attorney, said Friday that people are usually released from custody when they are not charged within a certain time period.
As of Friday, Salazar Jr. has not been charged criminally but was was initially booked into county jail on suspicion of two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. Olvis declined to comment on details of the case including whether Salazar Jr. is still considered a suspect in the cases because he said the Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.
Also connected to the case is Salazar Jr.’s mother, Maria Delia Rodriguez, 36, who pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count each of felony child endangerment and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer. Rodriguez was initially arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, aiding and abetting, child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and evidence destruction.
Rarely making the news in such a big way, San Ardo is a small community about 18 miles south of King City and about 35 miles from Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County’
San Luis Obispo Tribune: Special Report – Killing in a Small Town