Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Monday that detectives had made significant progress in the investigation of the execution-style massacre that left six people dead in Goshen, including a teenage mother and her baby.
“We’re very close,” Boudreaux said at an afternoon news conference without disclosing further details of the case. “I don’t want to say anything that will jeopardize bringing these baby killers to justice.
“I will say arrests will be made in the investigation.”
The advancement of the case comes as Boudreaux announced a reward increase for information leading to the identity and arrest of the shooters. He said the reward would probably grow to $30,100 in the coming days. A small portion of the money, he said, came from at least two people: a man in New York and a woman in Maine, both of whom wrote to the sheriff saying they were heartbroken by the slayings.
The brutal killings shocked the country and instilled fear in Goshen, an impoverished community in the San Joaquin Valley, where drug trafficking and gang violence have turned sparsely populated rural areas into some of most violent places in California.
Boudreaux initially said the killings were the work of a Mexican drug cartel. But he later said they were probably carried out by local gangs or cartels, perhaps a combination of the two.
At the news conference, Boudreaux displayed two posters showing a network of state and local roadways used by two cartels and some of the gangs affiliated with them.
“It’s important that you see we do have cartels operating and many of these work very closely with gangs,” he said. “Investigators strongly believe that the shooters in this case are gang-related from the Central Valley, but you can see the connections with the gangs involved are very high.”
Boudreaux called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow the death penalty to be imposed when children are slain.
Authorities said two shooters barged into the family compound on Harvest Avenue about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 16, hunting down and killing six people, including a 72-year-old grandmother in her bed, a 16-year-old mother and her infant. The sheriff singled out those three as innocent victims but said some members of the household were involved in gangs.
Deputies first discovered the bodies of the teen mother and her baby. Boudreaux said forensic evidence showed she and her child were attempting to escape but were caught and shot in the head from above, execution-style.
Deputies then found the door to the main house forced open and one person dead in the doorway. Another victim was found dead in the threshold of the door to a trailer near the house. At least three other people survived the massacre and authorities are not identifying them.
Most of the victims were related to one another. Coroner’s officials identified the dead as Rosa Parraz, 72, Marcos Parraz, 19, Eladio Parraz, 52, Jennifer Analla, 50, Alissa Parraz, 16, and 10-month old Nycholas Parraz.
Rosa Parraz was the grandmother of Marcos and Alissa. Eladio Parraz was their uncle. Analla was the girlfriend of a man who survived the attack.
The execution of a teen mother and her baby was unheard of even in a region plagued by years of drug violence.
Adding to the tragedy, Boudreaux said Alissa had regained custody of her child just three days before the killings. He said the baby had been placed in child protective services after his birth because she could not provide sufficient care.
Standing in front of a backdrop of federal agents, Boudreaux said detectives have been working around the clock.
“I can tell you, it changes almost hourly,” he said. “There’s been many twists and turns in this case, but the veteran investigators in this case, working alongside our federal counterparts, feel very confident in this investigation.”