There were "signs of a struggle" inside the couple's home before investigators discovered the bodies of a woman and her two sons in the desert

By Elaine Aradillas
May 01, 2020 04:54 PM
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Erlinda Villareal
Erlinda Villareal's two sons
| Credit: Facebook

The day after investigators discovered the bodies of three people – a mother and her two sons -- in the California desert, they arrested the woman’s boyfriend, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday morning, deputies from the Victorville police department were called to the home of Erlinda Villareal, 42, and her boyfriend Louis Lucero, 35, on Ferndale Road, officials stated in a press release.

Investigators found "signs of a struggle," they reported. "Villareal and Lucero were not at the home and have not been seen or heard from since early Wednesday morning."

Louis Lucero
Louis Lucero
| Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriffs Office

Later that evening, emergency dispatch received a call about someone off-roading in the Apple Valley desert. Upon arrival, investigators found the bodies of Villareal and her two sons, ages 9 and 12.

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"Detectives determined that the victims left the Ferndale Road home with Lucero and were murdered at an unknown location, then left in the desert area where they were found," they alleged in the press release.

At 12:28 p.m. Thursday, Lucero was arrested in Eagle County, Colorado, on an unrelated charge. The Sheriff’s Office said he will be held on the current charge as well as a warrant for murder.

He will be held in Eagle County until he can appear for an extradition hearing. It was unclear whether he has obtained an attorney.

The names of the two boys have not been released.