Local News

Two teens charged in Wake County double homicide

Posted January 23, 2013 4:02 p.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2013 5:23 p.m. EST

— Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Wednesday that investigators have arrested a 16-year-old and 15-year-old in connection with the shooting deaths of a husband and wife whose bodies were found in their home near Garner earlier this month.

The bodies of Jose Samual Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were found around 12:30 a.m. Jan. 5 at their home at 708 Colonial Drive near Garner, after a neighbor called 911 when she heard loud noises.

Isrrael Vasquez, 16, of 165 Montiseno Drive, Raleigh, and his 15-year-old nephew, whose identity was not released because of his age, were arrested Wednesday afternoon and each charged with two counts of murder, felony conspiracy, first-degree burglary and possession of stolen property. Vasquez faces an additional charge of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

"This was not a random act, but unfortunately, the victims in this killing probably did not have anything to do with it," Harrison said. "At this point in the investigation, we do not see any indication that they even knew these people, but this is an ongoing investigation."

He declined to offer any other details, including a possible motive, saying it's still too early in the investigation. He did say, however, that investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the shooting might have been gang-related.

There are also indications, he said, that the Mendoza shootings might be related to a Dec. 4 shooting on Meadowbrook Road.

"Some of the same individuals charged today had been charged in that shooting," Harrison said.

It's also too soon, he said, to say whether a weapon found last week in the Raleigh apartment of Gemby Itzamar Estrada, 18, is connected to the case. An arrest warrant for Estrada indicated that authorities were trying to connect the weapon to a double-homicide investigation.

The Mendozas both worked at Golden Corral in south Raleigh and were the parents of two children. The youngest, a 3-year-old boy, was home at the time of the attack. Their 12-year-old was not present. They are both being cared for by family members.

"It's just a tragedy. From what we’ve heard and what we've found out, the people that were killed were Christians, hard-working people," Harrison said. "They stayed to themselves. It's not only a tragedy for their families but for their friends in that community and this county."