A suspected Umatilla drug dealer was charged Friday with killing a co-worker found shot with two women this summer in a rural Benton County field.
Prosecutors charged Francisco J. Miranda-Resendiz, 23, with the first-degree murder of David Perez-Saucedo, 22, of Pasco.
He was not charged in the deaths of Abigail Torres-Renteria, 23, who was almost nine months pregnant, and Victoria Torres, 19.
The execution-style shootings may have been retaliation for a break-in at Miranda-Resendiz’s apartment hours earlier, according to court documents.
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Miranda-Resendiz has been a key person of interest since the investigation started and has been in the Umatilla County jail since Aug. 10.
He was getting ready to post bail, and law enforcement officials feared he would flee the state so prosecutors filed charges Friday. Bail is set at $1 million.
Soon after the bodies were found Aug. 9, Miranda-Resendiz showed up to work and told supervisors that he shot Perez-Saucedo, according to charging documents filed in Benton County Superior Court.
Miranda-Resendiz told them how many times he shot Perez-Saucedo, and the number matched the autopsy report, the documents said.
Sheriff’s investigators said they are continuing to look for other persons of interest, including Miranda-Resendiz’s father and brothers, who may have gone to Mexico shortly after the shootings, court documents said.
Miranda-Resendiz must be extradited to Washington to face the murder charge.
He already is charged in Oregon with the attempted assault of a fourth Tri-City man who went to Umatilla with the victims but managed to escape.
Court documents show Francisco Miranda-Resendiz lived in Umatilla but worked at a Wyckoff Farms property across the Columbia River in Paterson.
Witnesses told authorities Miranda-Resendiz had sold methamphetamine in the past, court documents said.
Witnesses told investigators Perez-Saucedo went to Umatilla with a friend, Marco Antonio Garcia, and the two women late Aug. 8, a Friday night, possibly to a party.
The same night, Miranda-Resendiz was in Umatilla drinking with friends when he apparently became concerned that Perez-Saucedo broke into one of his Umatilla apartments, court documents said.
Miranda-Resendiz allegedly gathered some family and friends and went to confront Perez-Saucedo, court documents said.
The documents filed Friday state that within seconds of Perez-Saucedo arriving at a Umatilla convenience store, four other vehicles pulled up.
Security video from the Pik-a-Pop store shows the men, including Miranda-Resendiz, confronting Perez-Saucedo. One person was seen on the video carrying a weapon, said court documents.
The men from the vehicles appear to take all the occupants from Perez-Saucedo’s car.
Garcia, who drove to Umatilla that night with the victims, was in the convenience store at the time, investigators believe.
Garcia claimed he walked out of the store after the vehicles left, but Miranda-Resendiz allegedly came back and chased him. Garcia escaped by hitching a ride with a semi-truck driver.
Miranda-Resendiz is charged in Umatilla County with unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and attempted assault. That trial was recently moved to December.
Witnesses told investigators the victims and members of the Miranda family went to Miranda-Resendiz’s apartment on Fifth Street, court documents said.
It’s unclear from the documents what happened next or how the victims got back to Benton County. Their bodies were found around 5:30 a.m. the next morning about 15 miles from Miranda-Resendiz’s apartment.
Court records show investigators searched Miranda-Resendiz’s two apartments and seized various items, ranging from clothing to cellphones and ammunition.
After his arrest, Miranda-Resendiz admitted to speaking with Perez-Saucedo at the gas station but only to convince him to go out drinking, documents said. He denied taking Perez-Saucedo out of his vehicle.
Miranda-Resendiz told another friend that someone else was responsible for the killings, court documents said.
Authorities have been looking for the rest of the Miranda-Resendiz family for more than a month.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the Miranda family members is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 509-628-0333.
-- Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; email@example.com