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Sheriff: California double slaying in happened during custody exchange


Esmeralda Casillas, 36, of El Cajon, was shot to death on Nov. 18, 2022, during a custody exchange of her 7-year-old twin boys in Moreno Valley with the boys' father, Salvador Velasquez Jr., 39, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said. Casillas' mother, Ofelia Velazquez de Casillas, 68, was also slain. Velasquez was arrested. (Courtesy of Adrian Olascoaga)

The man arrested on suspicion of killing two women in Moreno Valley on Friday was the father of 7-year-old twin boys, and the slayings happened during a custody exchange with the boys’ mother and grandmother, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Monday, Nov. 21.

Salvador Velasquez Jr., 39, was arrested at his home in Coachella and was booked on suspicion of two counts of murder. He is being held without bail at John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio. The boys were found safe at the home, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Esmeralda Casillas, 36, of El Cajon, was shot to death on Nov. 18, 2022, during a custody exchange of her 7-year-old twin boys in Moreno Valley with the boys’ father, Salvador Velasquez Jr., 39, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said. Casillas’ mother, Ofelia Velazquez de Casillas, 68, was also slain. Velasquez was arrested. (Courtesy of Adrian Olascoaga) 

The victims were Esmeralda Casillas, 36, and her mother, Ofelia Velazquez de Casillas, 68, both of El Cajon, family members and the Coroner’s Office said Monday.

Adrian Olascoaga, 30, who identified himself as the nephew of Esmeralda Casillas and the grandson of the older woman, said in an interview Monday that Velasquez and Casillas had been together for about three years before they split up. Casillas was trying to get full custody of the children, he said.

They had joint custody of the children, with Velasquez getting the boys on weekends, according to Olascoaga.

“He was very possessive, he was very jealous, very very controlling. He was never nice with the exchanges, but as far as actual threats … I do know there were threats made but I don’t know how recently,” Olascoaga said. “We never thought she was in danger because we thought the kids were important to him.”

He said it would have been normal for Casillas and her mother to be together at custody exchanges so Casillas would not have to drive home alone.

The Sheriff’s Department said Velasquez went to the meeting location in the area of Eucalyptus Avenue and Old Highway 215 in Moreno Valley, received the boys and shot the two women. They died at a hospital, a sheriff’s news release said.

“She was a good mom,” Olascoaga said of her aunt, who operated a tire shop. “She was a business owner trying to do the best she could to provide for them.”

Velasquez was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving in 2020, said Amy McKenzie, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. Charges including carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, both misdemeanors, were dismissed, Superior Court records show.

Anyone experiencing or at risk of domestic violence can obtain help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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