Authorities Search For Slaying Suspect, Fear For Daughters
GLEN ELLEN, Calif. (AP) _ Authorities feared for the missing young daughters of a winery worker suspected of killing his wife, three of her relatives and a co-worker in a bloody rampage.
Police searched for Ramon Salcido, 28, who fled with the three girls after going on the shooting, battering and stabbing spree in northern California’s wine-making region on Friday, Sonoma County Sheriff Richard Michaelsen said.
The savage attacks on Salcido’s two sisters-in-law, 8 and 12, in which both were sexually assaulted and one was nearly decapitated, heightened fears for his daughters, who vanished from the house where his wife was slain.
″(Salcido) has the three children with him ... and that’s scary,″ Michaelsen said. ″He may have literally no attachment to his own children at this point. We feel they are in great danger.″
A neighbor who described himself as Salcido’s best friend also feared for the girls’ lives.
″He already killed his wife, and he don’t care anymore,″ said Richard Clark.
″He’s crazy, he was always going around with a gun,″ said Clark, a 27- year-old self-employed mechanic who said he ″could see it coming.″
″One time he threatened to blow (his wife’s) head off,″ said Clark, who has known Salcido for about four years.
Police issued an all-points bulletin and used helicopters to search for Salcido after the attacks in an area 60 miles north of San Francisco.
″To go from one crime scene to the next, to see this beautiful young wife. ... It was incredible,″ Michaelsen said. ″Then to go ... and see what he did to those little girls.″
On March 11, a Superior court judge in Fresno County about 250 miles to the south ordered Salcido to pay his ex-wife, Debra Ann Salcido, $511 a month in child support for their 4-year-old daughter, Maria Crystal Garcia.
Salcido was told of the order on Tuesday, but Michaelsen declined to speculate whether it might have been what pushed Salcido - described as an insecure, jealous man enamored of guns - over the edge.
Authorities, meanwhile, described Salcido as ″extremely dangerous.″ They said a witness saw him leave one of the places where slayings occurred with several firearms and knives.
They also alerted border police for fear that Salcido may be heading for his native Mexico.
Salcido’s battered brown Ford sedan, in which he is believed to have fled, was found Friday evening in San Rafael in neighboring Marin County, about 25 miles south of where the attacks occurred, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department said.
But there was no sign of the suspect or the three girls - 2-year-old Teresa, 3-year-old Carmina and 4-year-old Sofia.
Authorities also were looking for a second car Salcido might be driving.
Michaelsen said investigators still were trying to determine the bloody sequence of events, which occurred in four locations between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Salcido went to a Glen Ellen ranch and allegedly wounded Kenneth Butti, 33, in the right shoulder, police said. Butti lived at the ranch but worked with Salcido at the Grand Cru winery in nearby Kenwood. Butti alerted police then was treated at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Authorities said Salcido, a Grand Cru forklift operator, also went the winery, where he fatally shot assistant winemaker Tracey Toovey, who was sitting in his car in the winery driveway. Toovey was shot several times in the head.
Michaelsen said Salcido also killed his wife, Angela, 24, at their home in Boyes Hot Springs. Although the cause of her death was unclear, Michaelsen said she apparently died of a ″very traumatic injury″ and there was ″a considerable amount of blood in the home.″
Salcido also went to the Cotati home of his in-laws, Robert and Marion Louise Richards.
Robert Richards was at work when Salcido arrived, but Mrs. Richards and their two daughters, Marie Ann Richards, 8, and Ruth Richards, 12, were at home. All three were savagely attacked and found dead in three blood- splattered rooms.