BAKERSFIELD — A 32-year-old man suspected of shooting a killing another man in Bakersfield two years ago was arrested on Sunday as he tried to flee the country.
Juan Lopez, will be booked into the Kern County Jail for murder where he will be held without bail.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Lopez is just one of the suspects that they have been looking for in connection with the March 20, 2014, murder of Silvestre Soto, who was shot and killed in an orchard near the Bena Landfill in Bakersfield.
“During the past few years, homicide detectives with assistance from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office Kern Regional Crime Laboratory, were able to identify Lopez as one of the suspects involved in the killing,” said Public Information Officer Ray Pruitt.
“After an intensive investigation, a warrant was finally issued for Lopez on March 7, 2016, and he was taken into custody at the California/Mexico border for that warrant on March 20.”
That investigation began exactly two years to the date of Lopez’s arrest, after deputies responded to a report of a body found near an orange orchard on an extension road about ½ of a mile northeast of the intersection of Edison Highway and Neumarkel Road east of Bakersfield at about 8:10 am on March 20, 2014.
“When deputies arrived they contacted the reporting party who had been working in the area. The reporting party advised deputies that he had been checking orchards in the area and noticed a vehicle parked on the extension road between two orchards,” Pruitt said.
“The vehicle did not belong in the area, so the reporting party decided to check on the vehicle. When he did he found the body of an obviously deceased male lying on the ground near the vehicle.
Detectives responded to the scene, and quickly determined that the Soto’s body displayed obvious signs of trauma.