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0606pinal County Vekol Valley Deaths

0606pinal County Vekol Valley Deaths

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Published by: matthendley on Jun 06, 2012
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06/06/2012

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NEWS
RELEASE
Paul Babeu, Sheriff 
 
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
971 Jason Lopez CircleFlorence, Arizona 85132
520-866-5208
Fax: 520-866-5195
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
 
CONTACT: Director of Communications, Tim Gaffney, 520-705-8124
Vekol Valley Homicide Investigation
FLORENCE, Ariz
. On Saturday, June 2
nd
, 2012 at 4:30 a.m. a U.S. Border Patrol Agent working inconjunction with the
“West Desert Task Force”
, located a Ford SUV along Interstate-8 in the Vekol Valleyarea. The Vekol Valley area is known as a major drug and human smuggling corridor. As the agent turnedhis vehicle around to contact the occupants of the vehicle it fled. The vehicle was not located again untilapproximately 8:30 a.m.U.S. Border Patrol tracked the vehicle and determined it left the roadway northbound near milepost 147.Vehicle tracks indicated it was driven a northeasterly direction through the desert for several miles. WhenU.S. Border Patrol found the vehicle at 8:30 a.m., the vehicle had been badly torched; the fire was out but thevehicle was still smoldering. Inside of the vehicle were five severely charred human remains. Four of thehuman remains were in the rear storage compartment of the vehicle and one was in the second row passengerseat.The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit was called to the scene to investigate. The area had severalshoe prints and also
“sleepy feet”
(
shoes
 
made
 
of 
 
carpet
 
remnants
 
or
 
burlap
 
by
 
smugglers
 
to
 
hide
 
their
 
footprints
). It also appeared that an accelerant was used when the vehicle was torched as it and its contentswere so badly burned.The crime scene was processed and the five human remains were taken to the Pima County MedicalExaminer’s Office for autopsies. The vehicle was so badly torched; detectives at the scene were not able tolocate any information to determine who the registered owner was. A massive tarp was wrapped around thevehicle to preserve evidence and it was towed to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office so detectives couldprocess it.On Saturday afternoon, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from an individual who askedto remain anonymous. The individual reported that he feared his brother-in-law was among the dead. Thebrother-in-law had told him the night before that he was
“going to Vekol Valley to make money.”
Thebrother-in-law had left to Vekol Valley with four other acquaintances. Homicide detectives asked thereporting party if his brother-in-law was involved in drug or human smuggling and he said he didn’t getinvolved in his business but he
“knows its illegal.”
The reporting party said that when he tries to call hisbrother-in-law or his friends on their cell phones they go straight to voicemail.On Sunday, a homicide detective again spoke with the reporting party who told us he still has been not ableto get in touch with his brother-in-law or his acquaintances. The five men were last seen driving in a FordSUV. Homicide detectives are also not able to locate the brother-in-law either. PCSO knows the names of 

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