Triple Homicide in Apple Valley, California, Authorities Identify Victim's Boyfriend As Suspect

Louis Lucero
San Bernardino Sheriff's Department identify Louis Lucero as suspect in triple homicide in Apple Valley, California San Bernardino Sheriff's Department/San Bernardino Sheriff's Department

On Wednesday, a woman and two children were found dead in a desert area of Apple Valley, California, and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department have named the woman's boyfriend as a suspect.

One of the homicide victims was identified as 42-year-old Erlinda Villareal and two boys aged 9 and 12, according to a statement released by the sheriff's department. The identification of the two boys is still pending notification of next of kin as they are minors, but the police department did confirm that Villareal is the mother of the other victims.

The sheriff's department released a photo of the suspect, who they identified as 35-year old Louis Lucero. According to the department, he was last seen driving a 2008 silver Ford Explorer with California license plate No. 6HCF706.

Cindy Bachman, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department told Newsweek that Lucero is not the children's biological father.

According to the statement, Victorville deputies were called to Villareal's house on Ferndale road on Wednesday morning at around 10:30 a.m. PT. When officers arrived, they "discovered signs of struggle inside," but the home was empty. Per the department's statement, Villareal, her two sons and Lucero had not been seen or heard from since early Wednesday morning.

Shortly after, detectives attempted to find Villareal, Lucero and his vehicle but were unsuccessful.

One of Villareal's family members, Serena Marie Villareal, spoke with Victor Valley News in California, and said that she received a phone call on Tuesday night from one of the children who indicated that a domestic dispute had occurred.

"All we know is that it's an abusive relationship and last night they were fighting, and it led into the morning," Serena Villareal told Victor Valley News. "Her youngest son that's missing called his older sister to pick them up cause he was scared and hiding in the bathroom."

Later in the day on Wednesday, at around 5:30 p.m. PT, dispatchers received a call from someone that was off-roading in the desert area of Apple Valley, who discovered the three bodies, prompting homicide detectives to conduct their investigation.

Per the department's statement, homicide detectives were able to determine that Villareal and her two sons left their home on Ferndale road accompanied by Lucero. The three were murdered at an unknown location and were "left in the desert area where they were found."

Authorities said that Lucero fled the area where the bodies were found in his silver Ford Explorer and is considered armed and dangerous.

The investigation is currently ongoing and authorities were not permitted to provide Newsweek with any further information.

Triple Homicide in Apple Valley, California, Authorities Identify Victim's Boyfriend As Suspect | U.S.