Family members suspect jealousy may have led to the gruesome slayings of an Othello teen and her 3-year-old son found shot and severely burned in a remote part of Franklin County.
Maria G. Cruiz-Calvillo, 18, and Luis F. Lopez-Cruz were identified Monday as the bodies found last week inside a vehicle that was set on fire in a ravine near the intersection of Scootney and Ridge roads.
Luis likely was still alive when the car went up in flames, according to Dan Blasdel, Franklin County coroner.
Luis would have turned four years old on Thursday.
“She was a really good person. She was always smiling,” said Karen Rodriguez, a sister-in-law of Cruiz-Calvillo who spoke for the family. “He was a happy kid. He was really playful and loved to be outside.”
Prudencio Juan Fragos-Ramirez, 25, of Connell, reportedly had recently started dating Cruiz-Calvillo and is suspected of killing the pair.
Fragos-Ramirez was arrested hours into the investigation at his home less than a mile from where the bodies were found. He appeared Monday in Franklin County Superior Court, where Judge Carrie Runge set bail at $1 million.
Runge ordered Fragos-Ramirez, who has previous convictions for DUI and driving while suspended, held for up to 72 hours while prosecutors determine what charges to file. Prosecutors say Fragos-Ramirez was deported in 2014 and got back into the country illegally.
The sheriff’s office initially spelled his name Flagos-Ramirez, but court records show it’s spelled Fragos-Ramirez.
Family members had never met Fragos-Ramirez, though Cruiz-Calvillo talked to her mother about a guy she was seeing, whom she apparently referred to by the nickname “Loco,” Rodriguez said.
“(The family) thinks she never wanted a serious relationship with him,” Rodriguez said. “It’s jealousy.”
Cruiz-Calvillo and Luis had gunshot wounds, Blasdel said. Tests to confirm whether they were still alive when the fire started have been requested.
Firefighters found the bodies July 2 as they battled the car fire near a large orchard, court documents said. Franklin County deputies discovered the license plates were registered to an Othello man, who told investigators his niece, Cruiz-Calvillo, drove the vehicle.
Family members last saw Cruiz-Calvillo the afternoon of her death as she was leaving Othello with Luis for Pasco to make a car payment, court documents said. She routinely went to Pasco to make car payments.
“We checked with the bank,” Rodriguez said. “She made the payment at 3:43 (p.m.).”
Two neighbors saw Cruiz-Calvillo and Luis arrive at Fragos-Ramirez’s home about 4:40 p.m., court documents said. The neighbors recognized the mother and son because they frequent the house on Hogback Road.
Between 10 and 20 minutes later, the neighbors saw the pair and Fragos-Ramirez walking towards Cruiz-Calvillo’s car, court documents said. They didn’t see Fragos-Ramirez return to the house and didn’t see him again until about 7 p.m.
Smoke was spotted coming from the ravine where the bodies were found about 20 to 30 minutes after the trio was seen leaving the home. It took detectives eight minutes to drive from the home to the spot where the bodies were found.
Detectives were able to track down Fragos-Ramirez for an interview after Cruiz-Calvillo’s brother, Arturo Calvillo, remembered meeting a man who matched the description of Fragos-Ramirez while at a house on church business, court documents said. Calvillo took Detective Jason Nunez to the house, and Nunez contacted a woman there.
The woman told Nunez she had a brother who was at the house when Calvillo came over, court documents said. She called Fragos-Ramirez and handed the phone to Nunez, who then set up an interview.
Via: Tri City Herald