After 6-Week Landfill Search, Boy’s Body Yet To Be Found

Despite intensely concerted efforts over the last sixth weeks, authorities have yet to find the body of six-year-old Duke Flores, who was believed to have died at the hands, or as the result of the depraved and indifferent negligence, of his mother.
Duke Flores was diagnosed as suffering from autism. He was living with his mother, 29-year-old Jackee Contreras, and his aunt, Jennifer Contreras, his mother’s twin sister. On occasion, the child stayed with his grandmother.
Duke’s father, Jose Flores, did not cohabit with his son or Jackee Contreras, but had semi-regular contact with Duke. On Thursday, April 25, 2019, a blood relation to Jose Flores who has not been publicly identified requested a welfare check be carried out on the child.
Authorities have been less than fully transparent about what transpired thereafter, although some details are known.
On Thursday, April 25, at approximately 10:06 pm, deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department stationed in Apple Valley as members of that town’s police department responded to the Contreras residence in the 22000 block of Cherokee Avenue. Upon arrival, deputies were told by Jackee Contreras that she had not seen her son for approximately two weeks. Deputies immediately began a search of the area. Jackee Contreras was arrested, transported and booked into the High Desert Detention Center for child neglect, stemming from her delay in reporting her son missing. She was later transferred to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
There is a report, the provenance and reliability of which is unknown, that Duke Flores was actually seen in the front yard of his mother and aunt’s home earlier in the day on April 25.
Investigators say that both Jackee and Jennifer made a series of inconsistent statements to them as they labored to determine whether the boy was yet alive, and if so, his whereabouts.
Following Jackee’s arrest and booking on April 25, Jennifer was arrested on April 27.
According to a public release of information, investigators are given to believe that Duke Flores is dead and his body was disposed of in a dumpster. There has been no disclosure with regard to what led investigators to that conclusion.
Shortly after 7 am on Monday, April 29, a crew involving an unspecified number of homicide detectives, sheriff’s department volunteers and landfill personnel were actively searching the landfill in Victorville for the body of Duke Flores.
By 1 pm that day, the search team had swelled to four homicide detectives, 36 sheriff’s department volunteers, three canines, and 17 additional sheriff’s department members as well as landfill personnel. The primary area being searched was approximately 70 feet x 70 feet x 10 feet in depth, involving some 600 tons of material.
The search resumed on the morning of April 30. Also that morning, Jackee Contreras and Jennifer Contreras were brought before Superior Court Judge Lisa Rogan for arraignment in Victorville Superior Court. With more than a dozen of Duke Flores’ family members present, they each entered a single not guilty plea to one count of murder. Judge Rogan set their bail at $1 million each.
Intensified searches at the landfill continued on May 1, May 2 and May 3. Those searches typically involved detectives, additional sheriff’s deputies, volunteers, search dogs, and landfill workers. The search resumed the next week. In the several weeks since, the searches have continued, with differing levels of intensity and numbers of participants as the effort has dragged on. To date, the boy’s body has yet to turn up.
The search for several weeks was confined to one section of the landfill, which entailed sifting through some 1,200 tons of rubbish wherein the refuse disposed of at the landfill in April had been deposited.
Pre-preliminary and preliminary hearings for Jackee and Jennifer Contreras have been scheduled for June 26 and 27 at the Victorville Courthouse.
If the body of the child has not been found by June 26, a determination at the pre-preliminary hearing could be made to postpone the preliminary hearing.

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