The two women whose bodies were discovered about three miles apart in Escondido, and who were believed to have been killed by the same man, were sisters, police said Monday.
Gabriella Soto, 26, was found dead at about 4:15 a.m. Thursday in a burned-out SUV near Kauana Loa and Country Club drives just west of Stone Brewing, the Escondido Police Department (EPD) said.
The plates on the vehicle led officers to a home in the 500 block of W. 11th Avenue, about a mile south of the Escondido Center for the Arts, where Gabriella Soto’s sister, Veronica Soto Ortega, 30, was found dead, EPD said. The two sisters lived at the residence together.
Officers found two children asleep inside the residence when they arrived. The children were not harmed and were taken into protective custody, EPD said.
Veronica Soto Ortega's estranged husband, Juan Carlos Ortega, 33, is accused of murder in the sisters' deaths, the Escondido Police Department (EPD) said.
Early in their investigation, officials believed there was a connection between the two women, prompting the department to lead a homicide investigation that lasted more than 12 hours.
Juan Carlos Ortega was located at about 8:30 p.m. the same day and booked into Vista Detention Facility on two counts of murder and one count of arson.
EPD did not release details on possible motives or the events leading up to both deaths.
Both locations are just south of State Route 78. The home is located east of Interstate 15 while the burned-out vehicle was found west of I-15.
No other information was available.
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