Local News

Three charged with using slain man's SUV

Posted April 21, 2009 11:53 a.m. EDT

— Police have charged three men with possession of stolen property after determining they had used an SUV that belonged to a man found dead in Rolesville two weeks ago.

The body of identified the man Ismael Merales-Castro, 30, of Smithfield, was found April 7 about a quarter-mile into the woods near the Drayton Reserve subdivision on Forestville Road. Investigators said they believe he had been shot and killed there.

Merales-Castro's family reported him missing a week earlier and told police his 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer was missing.

Police in St. Pauls were conducting a license checkpoint on April 12 when they spotted Merales-Castro's missing SUV. Ismael Azua, 19, and Ismael Avila, 19, both of Red Springs, were charged with possession of stolen property, and police said they told investigators that they bought the vehicle from a Sanford man.

Armando Montes Gomez, 27, was arrested in Sanford on April 16 and was charged with possession of stolen property, along with an outstanding warrant from Raleigh for obtaining property by false pretense.

No charges have been filed in Merales-Castro's death, which remains under investigation by the Rolesville Police Department and the Smithfield Police Department.

Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call Rolesville Police Department at 919-556-7226 or Eastern Wake Crime Stoppers at 919-366-2746.