Reward Offered After Double-Killing in Nuevo
By Jesse B. Gill
Unless homicide detectives know more about the case than they’re letting on (which is very common), this is what you’d call a stone whodunnit.
The case began just after 5 p.m. on Feb. 4., when deputies were sent out to the 29000 block of Central Street in unincorporated Nuevo, a handful of blocks south of Highway 74—Florida Avenue, one of the area’s main drags.
They arrived to find two women—Connie and Maria Gonzalez, 25 and 51, respectively—suffering from “obvious traumatic injuries,” according to sheriff’s officials. That means both victims were well on their way to death’s doorstep by the time deputies arrived. The coroner’s reports indicate both women were shot in the roadway of Central Street. Officials say they were shot while walking near their home.
In fact, Cal Fire paramedics pronounced Connie dead at the scene. They rushed Maria to Menifee Valley Medical Center, where she died in the emergency room.
Right away, detectives were at a loss when it came to suspects. Witnesses told them they saw a young Latino man in dark clothes running away from the shooting scene.
The double-slaying understandably alarmed the community and the Sheriff’s Department responded with a public meeting Feb. 7, led by Capt. Scot Collins. Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley was also there, along with hundreds of concerned and scared community members. There wasn’t enough room in the gym to hold everyone who showed up.
Though residents expressed concerns, no one could offer information that could lead to an arrest. Detectives were still no closer to finding their killer than they were before.
A few days later, sheriff’s officials released more information about their mystery suspect. He’s apparently Latino, between 17 and 25 yearsold, standing between 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin to medium build. He had short, dark hair, wore dark jeans and a dark hooded sweatshirt, they said.
Investigators, joined by volunteers, scoured the crime scene and surrounding area for days, looking for any evidence that could point them in the direction of . . . something. Anything.
But nothing turned up. If something did turn up, officials have been tight-lipped about it.
On Feb. 13, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a $100,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the mystery suspect. Ashley pitched the idea, saying the reward could be helpful in encouraging anyone with information to come forward, though the lack of eyewitnesses and evidence suggest that no one but the killer himself knows much of anything that could be useful to investigators.
And so, the investigation continues.
If you’ve got any information on the killing, you’re encouraged to contact Investigator Josh Button or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Homicide Unit at (760) 393-3531 or Investigator Steven Grassel at (951) 791-3405.