A man accused of attacking an Escondido couple in their home with a hatchet was a senior Border Patrol Agent according to court documents. Investigators say it's one of the most brutal crime scenes they've dealt with.
Police searched Gamalier Reyes Rivera’s vehicle Thursday outside his Imperial Beach home. Inside they found a backpack with zip ties and other items possibly associated with Rivera's job as a Border Patrol worker, including gun clips filled with bullets.
Neighbors said the 32-year-old man lived in this apartment with his wife and their 7-year-old daughter but sometime over the past few weeks his wife and daughter had moved out.
“He just didn't seem real happy,” Josh said.” That's all I know about him, he didn't smile."
Police said Rivera entered a home holding a hatchet on Upas Street early Thursday morning where his estranged wife Erika Von Der Heyde had been staying with the couple's daughter.
Detectives say he went inside another couple’s bedroom and struck a 29-year-old man several times in the back and neck with the hatchet and then wounded a 21-year-old woman in the legs. Investigators said it doesn't appear Rivera knew the victims and he might have actually been targeting his estranged wife.
"There's a couple of different scenarios and one of them is a case of mistaken identity," Lt. Bon Benton said.
The male victim is in critical condition. The female victim was treated and released.
Lt. Benton told the North County Times he did not know whether a restraining order had been issued against Rivera by his estranged wife or anyone else inside the home.
Court and public records show two domestic dispute cases involving Rivera and a woman who had lived with Rivera in recent years. The woman was listed as the aggressor in both court cases, the paper reported.
A court clerk said there was no record of a restraining order between the two.