Do You Know This Man?

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigators after two weeks have yet to identify one of the six shooting victims found in a remote desert area roughly three miles west of Shadow Mountain Ghost Town on January 23.
They are seeking the public’s assistance in determining who he is.
The man was in the company of five others near the dirt road intersections of Shadow Mountain Road and Lessing Avenue approximately three-and-a half miles west of Highway 395, 10 miles northeast of the center of El Mirage, 12 miles west of Helendale, 15 miles west of Silver Lakes when they were gunned down in the early evening hours of Tuesday January 23. The scene of the killings is some 18 miles north-northwest of Adelanto and 26 miles northwest of Victorville and 50 miles north of San Bernardino.
Five of those killed have been identified by the authorities and four of their names have been publicly disclosed. They are Baldemar Mondragon-Albarran, 34, of Adelanto; and two brothers, Franklin Noel Bonilla, 22, and Kevin Dariel Bonilla, 25, both of Hesperia; and Jose Ruelas-Calderon, 45, of El Mirage
The identity of a fifth has been ascertained, but his name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
Detectives have not been able to determine the name or any other specific identifying data with regard to a sixth. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 142 pounds with medium length, curly black hair, and brown eyes. The sheriff’s office provided a wide latitude in age spread for him, saying he was estimated to be between 30 and 60 years old.
There were some other physical characteristics that can be applied.
He has a large surgical scar on the anterior right forearm that extends to the upper arm, a surgical plate in the right forearm, a large linear scar on the posterior right elbow and forearm, an irregular shaped scar on the anterior left forearm/elbow area, and a linear scar on the right thigh. Additionally, He has a tattoo of the word “Gio” or “Gia” on the left side of the chest.
The department has provided a photo of the man and snapshots of his arm and chest in the hope that someone who knew him will come forward to make a definitive identification.
Those who might have any relevant information can be of help by contacting Detective Michelle Del Rio, Specialized Investigations Division at (909) 890-4904, or Deputy Coroner Carol Fostore at (909) 387-2978.
The five victims other than Franklin Bonilla were found near the Lessing Avenue and Shadow Mountain Road intersection, along with two vehicles, a blue Chevrolet Blazer SUV with Oregon plates and a silver Dodge Caravan van with a rear license plate numbered 9HUW954 bearing a blue 2024 expiration tag. One of those five bodies was found inside the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The other four were on the ground, one close to the Dodge Caravan. All four of those bodies had been burned to some degree, two more thoroughly than the others. An apparent attempt, one which was ultimately unsuccessful, had been made before the sheriff’s department arrived to set the Blazer afire. The body inside the Trailblazer had not been burned.
According to the sheriff’s department, at 8:16 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, the gravely wounded Franklin Bonilla managed to call 911 and, speaking in Spanish, told a sheriff’s dispatcher he had been shot. He was unable to provide his exact location beyond stating it was near Adelanto. Shortly thereafter, the call went dead. Using the geographic positioning data emanating from Bonilla’s phone, his position was determined to be roughly a quarter of mile from the Lessing Avenue and Shadow Mountain Road intersection.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter was immediately dispatched to the area and was instrumental in helping the first arriving deputy at 8:40 p.m. and then others who swiftly followed to locate the bodies of the victims. It was readily apparent that all of the victims had been shot. The Chevy Trailblazer was riddled with gunfire.
In short order detectives with the sheriff’s specialized investigations division, homicide detail, responded and assumed the investigation, one which began in earnest after sunrise on January 24. Through extensive investigation, investigators determined the victims had arranged to meet at the location for a marijuana transaction. Five subjects, identified as Toniel Baez-Duarte, Mateo Baez-Duarte, Jose Nicolas Hernandez Sarabia, Jose Gregorio Hernandez Sarabia, and Jose Manuel Burgos Parra, arrived at the location and for reasons still under investigation shot the six victims.
By Sunday, January 28, 2024, investigators had obtained multiple search warrants that were then serve in a coordinated and almost simultaneous fashion in the Town of Apple Valley, Adelanto and the Los Angeles County area of Pinon Hills, at which time Toniel Baez-Duarte, Mateo Baez-Duarte, Jose Nicolas Hernandez Sarabia, Jose Gregorio Hernandez Sarabia, and Parra were taken into custody.
In the course of serving the warrants and effectuating the arrests, deputies and detectives seized eight firearms along with additional evidence relevant to the case. The department’s scientific investigations division has already forensically processed much of the evidence, tying some of it into the murders.
The Baez-Duarte and Hernandez Sarabia brothers and Parra have been charged with six counts of Penal Code Section 187 murder and all five entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments on January 30 and February 1.
Both Sergeant Michael Warrick, who headed the specialized investigations division/homicide detail investigation into the killings and Sheriff Shannon Dicus have stated that those responsible for the murders are limited to the five suspects in custody.
“We are confident we have arrested all the suspects in this case,” Warrick said.
“I can guarantee you we got the five right people,” Dicus, who has made a thorough review of the investigative file on the matter, said.
-Mark Gutglueck

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