Family members found dead in Whittier home

The Associated Press
Monday July 15, 2002

Police have no
suspects, say family
probably died
on Thursday


WHITTIER – Four family members, including an 8-year-old girl, were found stabbed to death in a home outside the city Saturday, authorities said. 

No arrests were immediately made. A relative found the bodies and called police at about 11 a.m. But the four probably died on Thursday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Pena said. 

There were no signs of forced entry at the home but “it appears a struggle ensued, or whoever did it wanted to give the appearance that a struggle ensued,” sheriff’s Deputy Ray Peavy said. 

The home was ransacked with items “strewn about,” Peavy said. 

“A great deal of blood, a great deal of violence, a great deal of disarray in the home,” Peavy said. “It’s quite a devastating crime scene.” 

The victims were identified as Miguel Ruiz, 37, and his wife, Maritza Trejo, 41; their daughter, Jasimin Ruiz, 8, and the girl’s grandmother, Anna Martinez, 70. 

“The preliminary information that we have it’s just a quiet family, nothing to make you thing anything out of the ordinary,” Peavy said. “It’s just baffling.” 

“We just don’t have a clue as to what have occurred at this point. It’s a very brutal murder.” 

News of the deaths shocked neighbors. 

“Why her?” Marie Cervantes told KNBC-TV. “Why the little girl? She was like one of my own. I don’t know who could have done that.” 

Yvonne Ybarra told KTLA-TV that her daughter, Candice, was a friend of the 8-year-old and often slept over. 

“Thursday night, she had asked me if she can spend the night,” said Ybarra. She refused. 

“The first thing on my mind was, what if my daughter had been there that night?” 

“This guy is the nicest guy, if you needed help he’d come over here and help you,” Leo Ramirez said of Ruiz. “Why would anybody do something like this to him or to his family?” 

The quadruple homicide was the second family killing in Whittier this year. In March, five children died of asphyxiation after their father, Adair Javier Garcia, allegedly lit a charcoal grill inside the family’s home. 

Whittier is 24 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.