Election Section

Neighbor arrested for stabbing deaths of family of four

The Associated Press
Tuesday July 16, 2002

WHITTIER — Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 23-year-old man for the cruel stabbing deaths of a family of four, including an 8-year-old girl who was molested before she was killed. 

Investigators said the bloody bodies were dragged from room to room and that the victims suffered greatly before they died. 

Alfonso Ignacio Morales, who lived in the victims’ neighborhood, was arrested late Sunday, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ray Peavy. 

Morales was described as an acquaintance of the family and investigators anticipate more arrests will be made, Peavy said. Morales was booked for investigation of multiple murder and was being held without bail, Peavy said. 

A preliminary investigation has determined young Jasmine Ruiz was “brutally sexually assaulted” before she was killed and at least two assailants carried out the slayings, said Deputy Bill Spear. 

The bodies of Miguel “Mike” Ruiz, 37; his wife, Maritza Trejo, 41; their daughter, Jasmine; and Ruiz’s 70-year-old grandmother, Ana Luisa Martinez, were found Saturday by Trejo’s 21-year-old daughter, investigators said. 

The bodies were found in separate rooms and the family’s Whittier house had been ransacked, with walls and ceilings damaged, furniture overturned and drawers emptied, Peavy said. 

No evidence of forced entry was found, Peavy said. The murder weapon has not been found. Also, no one in the neighborhood had reported unusual sounds, including barking by the family’s two dogs. 

“Whoever did this did not need to inflict so much pain and so much suffering to steal a couple of computers,” Peavy said. 

Investigators believe the family was killed some time Friday. 

Neighbors described the Ruizes as a likable, hardworking family involved in computer and audio equipment sales and repair. 

A computer was found in a neighbor’s backyard, and family members told authorities that computer equipment was missing from the home. 

Peavy said Ruiz had no criminal record and that the family was not involved in “anything out of the ordinary.” 

“My entire family has just been stabbed to death. My brother, my grandma, my baby niece, my sister-in-law,” Olga Ruiz, Miguel’s sister, told the Los Angeles Times as she loaded the family’s two dogs into her sport utility vehicle, stopping to hug neighbors who cried in her arms. 

Ruiz’s friend, tattoo parlor owner Mike Gutierrez, said he last talked to his friend of nine years about 9 p.m. Thursday. 

Guitierrez told the Times that Ruiz worked as a stereo technician at Sound City in Maywood, and fixed computers at home. Trejo also worked in the electronics business, selling audio equipment at a Pomona swap meet. 

“It made his day when he was able to fix (the problem),” Gutierrez said. “He saw the relief in their customers’ faces when he brought the computers back to life. I’m just flabbergasted, I’m having a hard time understanding it.” 

Neighbors said Ruiz fixed his schedule so he could care for his grandmother, who had suffered a stroke, and pick up Jasmine from school. 

“He was always there for his daughter, like a Mr. Mom,” said neighbor Lupe Rivera, 27.