A 39-year-old man in California was arrested this week for allegedly killing the mother and grandmother of his 7-year-old twin sons.
Salvador Velasquez Jr. was taken into custody on Saturday and charged with four counts of murder in the deaths Esmeralda Casillas36, and her mother, Ofelia Casillas68, authorities said.
Moreno Valley Station deputies responded to an 911 call around 7:48 p.m. on Nov. 18 reporting a possible shooting in the Eucalyptus Avenue and Old Highway 215 area, according to a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.
First responders arrived at the address within minutes of the call, and MPs said they found two injured adult women in a parked vehicle. Both women appeared to have sustained gunshot wounds. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers arrived at the address and transported both victims – later identified as Esmeralda and Ofelia – to a local hospital for treatment. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, both women succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead.
The seven-year-old twins were found unharmed at the home, the sheriff’s office said.
The area where the two women were spotted was secured by detectives from Moreno Valley Station and the Central Homicide Unit. During the course of the investigation, investigators identified Velasquez as a suspect.
The Major Crimes Unit and the Sheriff’s Department Special Weapons and Special Weapons and Tactics team obtained and executed a search warrant for Velasquez’s Coachella home on November 19. Authorities served Velasquez with the arrest warrant and took him into custody. He was sent to the John Benoit detention center in Indio.
Investigators determined that the deaths of the two women were “a case of domestic violence,” with the shooting allegedly taking place “shortly after” a “change of custody of the two seven-year-old twins.”
The custody change took place around 7:45 p.m. Friday, with Esmeralda and Ofelia handing over the children to Velasquez, according to a report by the Palm Springs desert sun. Adrian Olascoagawho identified himself as a relative of the two victims is said to have informed them desert sun that the twins were placed in the care of Velasquez’s parents after the shooting.
“We, the family of Esmeralda and Ofelia, seek the support of the community to rescue the children and bring them to our loving home, away from a potentially cold-hearted and vicious killer who could harm them,” Olascoaga reportedly said the newspaper.
Olascoaga is reportedly Ofelia’s grandson and Esmeralda’s nephew, and he said his family hoped to take custody of the two children.
That desert sun reported that Esmeralda and Velasquez’s custody swap typically occurred in Moreno Valley, per a custody agreement reached between the two after a multi-year legal battle.
Velasquez is currently being held without bail and is scheduled to appear at the Riverside Hall of Justice at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Investigators urged anyone with information about the double homicide to contact the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777.
[image via Riverside County Sheriff]
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