By Tyler Richardson / Tri-City Herald
Surveillance video from a Umatilla gas station shows a group of people, at least one with a weapon, driving away with three Pasco residents hours before they were found shot to death.
The video at the Pik A Pop gas station shows a group of people “picking up” the victims, according to a probable cause affidavit. One of the men in the video is Francisco Javier Resendiz Miranda, 23, who has been named as a person of interest in the case.
Police had enough evidence after watching the video to arrest Miranda on suspicion of kidnapping and criminal conspiracy, court documents said. He has not been charged with those crimes, but he is in custody at the Umatilla County jail on suspicion of attempted assault, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.
Abigail Torres-Renteria, David Perez-Saucedo and Victoria Torres were driven from the gas station around 10:30 p.m. Friday, less than six hours before they were killed in a Benton County cornfield early Saturday morning, documents said.
Authorities arrested Miranda on Sunday near his home in Umatilla, documents said. He was then interviewed by a Spanish-speaking Benton County detective.
Miranda told the detective that he “persuaded” Perez-Saucedo out of his vehicle while he was parked at the gas station, documents said. He asked Perez-Saucedo to “go drinking” with two other men who were with him at the gas station.
The Herald is not naming the other men because they have not been identified by law enforcement as persons of interests in the case.
Miranda told Perez-Saucedo that “another male would drive his vehicle to whatever location they were going to go drinking,” documents said. Perez-Saucedo got out of the vehicle and into a Chrysler Pacifica with at least two other men, he said.
It’s unclear if anyone got into a vehicle with the women, though the group all left the gas station together, documents said.
Police believe the victims were killed with some kind of handgun in a rural field on farm property about 20 miles from Umatilla.
Torres-Renteria, 23, and Torres, 19, were both shot once in the neck, autopsies showed. Torres-Renteria was pregnant with a “full term” baby girl who did not survive. Perez-Saucedo was shot twice in the head.
Torres-Renteria and Perez-Saucedo — both parents of young children — were found next to each other, authorities said. Torres, the eldest of five siblings, was found about 15 feet away.
“I hope that they catch (the suspects) so whatever that brought them to do this, they can’t have a chance to do it again,” said Delia Herrera, Torres’ aunt.
Sheriff’s officials would not say whether the victims were kidnapped from the gas station. They released no new information on the case Wednesday, only saying they have made progress in the case.
“It just goes to the complexity of the case and the facts we are dealing with,” said Lt. Chuck Jones, sheriff’s office spokesman. “It’s a little unique, we need to be tight-lipped about it.”
Sheriff Steve Keane said Tuesday that investigators are searching for several possible suspects who may have participated in the killings or have knowledge about them. He called the case the “highest priority” for the sheriff’s office.
Several law enforcement agencies in Oregon and the FBI are assisting with the case.