Sixth Suspect Arrested in Homicide of Lacking Coachella Valley Couple – NBC Los Angeles

Sixth Suspect Arrested in Murder of Missing Coachella Valley Couple – NBC Los Angeles

Three men were arrested and detained on Sunday in connection with the disappearance of a couple who was missing in the Coachella Valley more than three years ago.

Three other people are in custody in connection with the murders of a Coachella Valley couple who were missing more than three years ago. In total, there are six suspects, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Aaron Fernando Bernal [28] from Indio was arrested on Tuesday for suspected murder, and Eric Rios [31] from Coachella was arrested on the same day for suspected murder, Lt. Walter Mendez from the sheriff of Riverside County.

A third person, 27-year-old Adilene Ines Castaneda from Coachella, was also involved in the crimes and was arrested on suspicion of murder even though she was already in custody on an unrelated drug case, Mendez said.

The trio, who were all kept behind bars on Wednesday afternoon, were arrested after investigators of the murder continued to "edit and process evidence," but no additional information was provided.

They join three other suspects previously charged with the murder of Audrey Moran [26] and Jonathan Reynoso [28], who disappeared on May 10, 2017.

Manuel Rios, Abraham Fregoso Jr., and Jesus Ruiz Jr. were arrested last month for a three-year investigation that included more than 50 warrants and hundreds of interviews.

Sheriff Chad Bianco said last month that the investigators had found out what were probably the couple's remains in the Coachella Valley. He said the DNA results hadn't come back yet to verify the identity of the remains. The sheriff's officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the DNA results on Wednesday. Bianco would not tell where and when the bodies were found, and would give only a few details about the investigation.

28-year-old Manuel Rios is charged with two murder cases. It was not immediately clear whether he and Eric Rios were related. The 32-year-old Fregoso is charged with a murder, and both of the accused are facing special circumstances in killing a witness to a crime who may question them for the death penalty if the prosecution requests the death penalty if convicted.

The 41-year-old Ruiz is accused of having been a companion to the murder, although his exact role in the alleged murders has not been disclosed.

Bianco said during the press conference that the victims are known to their alleged murderers but would not comment further.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said he was "very confident" that the charges against the three men were justified.

Moran was last heard when she left her Coachella home to pick up Reynoso, who may have returned from the Brawley area to the Coachella Valley on the day the couple was missing, according to investigators.

Moran said she would drive Reynoso to his Palm Desert home, but the SUV she drove was found parked on Interstate 10 in Beaumont two days after the couple's last hearing.

A police bloodhound discovered its smell near the SUV, but the trail disappeared about 50 feet from the vehicle, the authorities said.

The youngest defendants in the case could appear in court on Thursday.


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