The 29-year-old man charged with murdering his former girlfriend and her nine-year-old son told a judge on Friday that he didn’t know where the bodies were.
Antonio Davila-Larios pleaded not guilty to the murders of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Almanza, 29, and the boy, Arlen Rivera.
Law enforcement officials say Davila-Larios cut his arm, stabbed himself in the hand and left his pickup truck on the side of the road with the victims’ bodies inside.
When Davila-Larios was finally caught outside of the Almanza family’s residential neighborhood, he told officers that he planned to run away to Mexico and kill himself.
“No one should be a victim of domestic violence. I wish something would have stopped this,” the judge said at the hearing.
The girlfriend’s family was unhappy with the way the prosecution alleged that Davila-Larios was allegedly preventing them from recovering the bodies of their loved ones. Authorities quoted the boyfriend as saying he took the children out of their school bus, made them walk a few blocks away and dumped them off of a four-lane road that went through a neighborhood. The district attorney also claimed that the defendant had told the mother that she was going to get her job back.
Prosecutors played Davila-Larios’ final call to his mother. He told her that he had murdered the children and that he was on his way to the police station.
The investigator also reported that Davila-Larios had hidden his former girlfriend’s cellphone, prevented authorities from tracing the location of her current phone and then used a fake Social Security number to change his name to avoid identification.
There were no obvious physical signs of a struggle, evidence of a burglary or a scene that revealed gun battles, such as a hostage situation. Investigators instead believed that Davila-Larios slit the children’s throats, and then slashed his own. According to a description of the scene, the wounds looked as if they occurred as the victims fled the residence and then collapsed in the ditch.
Abuse-homicide specialist Jessica Alonzo recalled the day she met Almanza’s family. She believed that the situation was now dire because the alleged perpetrator was on the run and the family was not cooperating. She thought of a scenario in which the defendant’s attempt to kill himself has gone awry and he is “struggling to breathe.”
“He was asking the kids questions and was talking about goodbye, like goodbye to Mommy,” Alonzo said. “They looked like they had just been in a fight. The kids didn’t really look worried.”
After the killings, Alonzo said she immediately called the mother. Almanza begged her to help her do CPR, but instead of reporting it to police, she gave Davila-Larios her phone number to call him back and escape the family’s home. Alonzo said she wanted to see if her instincts were correct.
When Almanza was on the phone, Davila-Larios’ mother reportedly overheard the man saying he knew what he did and that he was going to kill herself. This, Alonzo said, gave her enough reason to still help her daughter.
“She told me what happened. She said, ‘If you save my life, you save all of us,’” Alonzo said.