Things That Matter

The Bodies Of A California Couple Were Found On Their Tijuana Property And Now Police Have Uncovered Two More

Last week a California couple was reported missing by their family in Garden Grove – a suburb of Los Angeles. The couple had traveled to Tijuana (where they were originally from) to collect the rent from the tenant who was living on their property. Unfortunately, they never returned home.

With the ever increasing violence in Tijuana, their family feared the worse and a few days later was confirmed when police located their bodies. However, the story continues to develop as a total of three more bodies have been found on their property.

Investigators say that two more bodies (for a total of 5) have been discovered on a Tijuana property where a California couple disappeared.

Credit: Fiscalía General / Baja California

Jesus Ruben Lopez Guillen, 70, and his wife Maria Teresa Lopez, 65, of Garden Grove, a couple with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship, vanished on January 10 after they crossed the border to collect more than $6,700 in rent from tenants of two houses they owned in Tijuana. Their bodies turned up in one of the houses, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, citing Mexican investigators.

The attorney general’s office for the state of Baja California, just south of San Diego, said late Saturday the second set of bodies – one male and the other female – are in a state of advanced decomposition. All four bodies were covered in lime when they were found by investigators.

The story started when the couple traveled to Tijuana to collect rent on properties they owned – and then never returned to California.

Credit: Garden Grove Police Department

When the couple failed to return home the next day, their daughter, Norma Lopez, reported the couple missing.

Garden Grove police opened a missing person case after the Guilléns were reported missing. Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said their daughter had been tracking her parents though the Find My iPhone app, which last showed the couple at their property in the Colonia Obrero neighborhood south of downtown Tijuana, about four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Then the phone went dead, and she could not track them anymore, Whitney said.

Police have since arrested their son-in-law in connection with the murders.

The man accused of killing the couple, their son-in-law, was ordered by a judge to remain in police custody while the state’s prosector’s office continues to gather evidence. According to authorities, they likely have enough evidence to charge him the murders of each of the victims found on the two properties.

Authorities suspect the man killed his in-laws in a dispute over money. They say he confessed to burying them on one of their properties, where he lived.

The judge during the hearing Sunday ruled Santiago will remain in jail under “forced disappearance” charges.

A “forced disappearance” charge is not as serious as a homicide charge, but it is still a felony in Mexico. It means the man is accused of trying to make the couple disappear. The charge can be used in cases of living or deceased victims. The man also was accused of something similar to obstruction of justice, for allegedly misleading investigators and refusing to assist in the investigation.

Prosecutors said investigators have obtained cell phone records, text messages and video camera footage of the defendant and of the victims’ truck — evidence prosecutors said contradicted his statements to police.

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Los Angeles Coroner Ordered a Rare Inquest Into the Police Shooting of Andrés Guardado

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Los Angeles Coroner Ordered a Rare Inquest Into the Police Shooting of Andrés Guardado

Photo by DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images

Months after the country was enraged at the seemingly unjustified killing of Andrés Guardado, the Los Angeles coroner is finally ordering an official inquest into the death of the 18-year-old  Salvadoran-American. It will be the first of such an inquest in Los Angeles in 30 years. 

The coroner’s decision is in direct conflict with the LA Sheriff’s department’s wishes. The LAPD had requested a “security hold” on the case, which initially kept Guardado’s autopsy and cause of death under wraps.

The LA County coroner wrote that he is “committed to transparency and providing the residents of Los Angeles County an independent assessment of its findings” in the case of Guardado’s death. He continued: “An inquest ensures that our residents will have an independent review of all the evidence and findings of our office and of the cause and manner of death of Mr. Guardado.”

An inquest will allow for the coroner’s office to subpoena witnesses and gather evidence that it will present to an independent officer to make an assessment. 

Andrés Guardado was shot in the back five times and subsequently killed by Deputies Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez in July of this year. Guardado was working as an unofficial security guard at an auto body shop in Compton when he allegedly fled the location when he saw the two police officers approaching. The officers claim that Guardado produced a gun at some point while he was running from them. The autopsy report shows that he was laying on the ground when he was shot. 

Guardado’s family claims that the killing was both unprompted and unjustified. They believe that Guardado fled from the police officers because he was frightened of police officers during a time of immense volatility between police officers and communities of color. 

“My brother was frightened,” Andrés’s sister Jennifer Guardado told local news shortly after his death. “He ran away because he knew what was gonna happen.”

The family has since come forward saying that they believe the police officers involved in the shooting were a part of a violent Los Angeles-based police gang who “were possibly acting in connection and in agreement with” other police gang members. The Guardado family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County and its sheriff’s department.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been vocal about his displeasure with the LA Coroner’s decision. At a press conference, he called the inquest a “circus stunt” and claimed that the coroner “sacrificed the integrity of the investigation in a bid to satisfy public curiosity.”

But the Los Angeles community, by in large, seems to stand by the coroner’s decision. “An independent review should not be rare, it should be the norm,” wrote Ventura resident Elidet Bordon on Twitter. “I hope Andres Guardado and his family get the justice he deserves.”

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Protesters In Cancun Were Marching In Support Of The Latest Woman Murdered In Mexico When Police Opened Fire On Them

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Protesters In Cancun Were Marching In Support Of The Latest Woman Murdered In Mexico When Police Opened Fire On Them

Elizabeth Ruiz / Getty Images

As Mexico continues to struggle to stem the growing violence against women, many are taking to the streets to voice their anger and frustration. From Mexico City to Cancun, women are being raped, gun downed, and murdered at staggering levels – it’s estimated that 10 women are murdered every day in the country.

And as the government fails to protect them, many are leading protests to demand action. However, the latest series of protests, which took place in Cancun after the disappearance and murder of a 20-year-old woman named Alexis, resulted in police officers opening fire on protesters and shooting at least four people.

Police opened fire on protesters in Cancun using live ammunition.

State officials and human rights activists are expressing shock and outrage after police opened fire on protesters during a march against femicide in Cancun.

Protesters were marching on city hall when police officers approached and opened fire, causing demostrators to disperse amid chaotic scenes. The newspaper Por Esto posted a photo of a police officer waving a pistol in the air. National guard agents appeared to have taken up positions around city hall after the shooting to increase security.

So far, officials have confirmed several injuries – including four journalists who were shot during the chaos.

According to the state governor, Carlos Joaquín, responsibility lay with the local police chief, who ordered officers to open fire to disperse the crowd. “I completely reject any intimidation or attack against protesters,” Joaquín said in a tweet. “I gave orders that there be no attacks and no guns at the marches scheduled for today. I will investigate the irresponsible person who gave orders that contradicted that.”

Since then, Cancun’s Municipal Public Security Secretary has been fired and the state’s head of police, temporarily suspended from his position.

While the city’s police chief, Alberto Capella, condemned the attack on the protesters and also ordered an internal investigation, adding that his resignation was on the table since six police officers in his control participated. He said “my face falls with shame.”

The violence also reflected a pattern of violence against the press. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Three Mexican journalists have been murdered in the last month, among them Arturo Alba in Ciudad Juárez, Jesús Alfonso Piñuelas in Sonora and Israel Vazquez Rangel in Guanajuato.

Protesters were drawing attention to the recent murder of Bianca “Alexis” Lorenzana – one of many women who have been killed just this year.

Monday’s protest in Cancun was called for after the dismembered body of 20-year-old Bianca “Alexis” Lorenzana, was found, days after she disappeared. It was the latest in a string of grisly crimes against women and girls in the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo.

Lorenzana’s mother had originally asked for a peaceful march to demand justice for her daughter. But partway through the demonstration she changed her mind, reportedly telling protesters: “Burn it all, because Alexis would have done that for you.”

Some on the march followed her call, breaking windows and spraying graffiti on the local prosecutor’s office, then the city hall.

The Cancún protest also reflected Mexican feminists’ growing use of “direct action”: as violence rates against women have soared, protesters across the country have increasingly resorted to breaking windows, starting fires and marking graffiti across public buildings.

Mexico is experiencing a femicide crisis and many across the country are standing up to say enough is enough.

Credit: Elizabeth Ruiz / Getty Images

It’s estimated that every single day 10 women are murdered in Mexico. That figure is just staggering and it’s causing an outpouring of grief and anger from women across the nation who no longer feel safe.

It’s also leading to more protests by an increasingly active and outspoken feminist movement, who are angry at the local and federal government for failing to stem the violence.

Activists’ frustration has focused on the country’s current leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has downplayed gender issues and accused feminist critics of allying with his conservative political opponents.

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