BROCKTON -- Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz today expressed frustration with the nation’s porous borders, saying a man wanted for questioning in the murders of a mother and her toddler son fled the United States just 2 1/2 hours after the victims’ bodies were found in a Brockton dumpster.
“This has been, to some extent, chasing ghosts,’’ Cruz said at a press conference this afternoon.
Cruz identified Luis Guaman as the man who was last seen with the victims -- Maria Avelina Palaguachi-Cela and her 2-year-old son, Brian. The murdered woman was overheard telling Guaman during that encounter last week that she did not love him anymore.
Cruz said investigators now know that Guaman -- using the alias of Segundo Castro – flew to Ecuador from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York one minute past midnight on Feb. 14. The bodies of the 25-year-old woman and son were found in a dumpster behind her Warren Avenue home around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 13.
Cruz said police believed Guaman purchased the airline ticket late last week, which led investigators to believe the mother and son had already been killed by that time.
“He is the last person to see her, and he’s gone,’’ Cruz said.
Palaguachi-Cela apparently had more than one suitor. On Monday, Manuel Jesus Caguana identified himself as the victim’s common-law husband and the father of Brian. Caguana was out of state when the woman and son were killed last week, officials have said.
Today Cruz said, “A two-year-old boy is dead. What does that have to do with a love triangle?”
Cruz spoke with reporters after a roommate of both Guaman and the murdered woman appeared in Brockton District Court, charged with misleading State Police and Brockton police investigating the double homicide.
The roommate, Aparicio Velencia De La Cruz, was questioned by investigators and told them that Guaman had left Brockton and was heading to New York, Plymouth Assistant District Attorney Thomas Flanagan said in court.
Flanagan said that what De La Cruz failed to tell police, however, was that Guaman had an airplane ticket to Ecuador. Flanagan said in court that De La Cruz’s failure to share that information with police left them checking in New York, eliminating the chance that police could have captured him when he landed at an airport in Ecuador.
However, De La Cruz’s defense attorney, Jonathan J. Moriarty, said his client was overwhelmed by the police questioning and was in shock after police showed him photographs of the bodies of the murder victims.
“He disagrees with the facts that he is being accused of lying,’’ Moriarty said.
De La Cruz, who was described as an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty to a single count of misleading police.
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