Arrests Made in Two-year-old “Whodunit” Murder

Arrests Made in Two-year-old “Whodunit” Murder
Photo: Stock Image

Image of suspects Paula Macareno, Ricardo Martin Del Campo, Henry Rostomyan

Nearly two years ago, on May 27, 2022, 96-year-old Montecito resident Violet Evelyn Alberts was “found dead” in her bed by her caretaker, 46-year-old Porter Ranch resident Pauline Macareno.

While it may not be uncommon for 96-year-olds to die in their sleep, the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s office policy requires an autopsy for any death occurring in a private residence. According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, an autopsy of Alberts indicated that her death was the result of “asphyxiation” and not pursuant to natural causes. A broken window in Albert’s home was quickly determined to have been “evidence of a break-in.”

The immediately ensuing investigation over the next 22 months by SBSD detectives indicated that Alberts had been the victim of “financial elder abuse” by Macareno, leading to the caretaker falling under suspicion in her client’s death. According to SBSD Sheriff Bill Brown, evidence indicated that Macareno “capitalized on Alberts’s vulnerability that ultimate led to the fraudulent acquisition of Alberts’s property.” The property in question was the victim’s home, valued at the time of her demise at $11 million.

Arrested just a month after Alberts’s death and charged and convicted of “fraud elder abuse, and manipulation of legal documents,” she was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Macareno activities were ultimately connected to those of 33-year-old Tujunga resident Henry Rostomyan, 41-year-old Los Angeles resident Ricardo Martin Del Campo, and 58-year-old Van Nuys resident Harry Basmadjian. During the investigation, detectives discovered video surveillance records of Alberts’s neighbors showing “camera footage of a suspect’s car” as it apparently conducted “a scouting trip” of the premises prior to the home invasion and murder.

On January 2, 2024 Rostomyan was contacted and arrested and found to be in possession of an illegal pistol with a 30-round magazine which “functioned like a machine gun.” On February 27, 2024, Basmadjian was arrested while in federal custody on other charges. Following his incarceration, Basmadjian suffered “a life-threatening” medical issue and is now “totally incapacitated and essentially brain-dead.”

Del Campo was finally tracked down and arrested on March 5 th and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail. He and Rostomyan remain in custody on a no-bail hold facing charges of murder and conspiracy.

Arrests Made in Two-year-old “Whodunit” Murder was last modified: March 8th, 2024 by admin
Categories: Santa Barbara

About Author

Write a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.