A California man has been charged with murder after allegedly killing his girlfriend and her two young sons, and then disposing of their bodies in the desert.
Gabriel Lucero, 35, was arrested in Colorado on Thursday, one day after he is alleged to have carried out the murders, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a news release. Deputies with the Victorville Police Department were called to the home where Lucero and his girlfriend, 41-year-old Erlinda Villareal, lived on Wednesday at around 11 a.m. after no one had heard from the pair since that morning; once there, deputies discovered “signs of a struggle” but there was no one inside the house, authorities said.
Later that day, at around 5:30 p.m., a person off-roading in Apple Valley called emergency dispatchers to report the discovery of three bodies, the release states. Those three individuals are believed to be Villareal and her two sons, age 9 and 12, according to authorities. Homicide detectives investigating the case suspect that Lucero left the home with the three victims and killed them at a different location before leaving them in the desert, where their bodies were eventually found.
Lucero, who was believed to have been driving a silver 2008 Ford Explorer, was captured at around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in Eagle County, Colorado on a charge unrelated from the triple homicide, according to authorities. He has since waived an extradition hearing and has been transported back to California, where is slated to appear in court in Victorville on Tuesday in relation to the murder case, the Victorville Daily Press reports.
Prior to Lucero’s capture, he led authorities of a high-speed chase that ended with him crashing a stolen car and attempting to flee from authorities on foot, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities have not released further details on how the mother and children were killed, and the children’s names have not been released. Lucero was not the biological father of the two boys he killed, law enforcement officials confirmed to the Victorville Daily Press.
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