Two men are accused of beheading an Alabama teenage girl suffering from autism and murdering her grandmother over the woman’s ties to the Sinaloa Cartel formerly headed by “Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
Madison County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office Investigator Stacy Rutherford testified that Israel Palomino, 34, and Yoni Aguilar, 26, murdered 49-year-old Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old autistic granddaughter Maria Lopez. The investigator said the two men carried out the murders after they became suspicious of the grandmother because of her connections to the Sinaloa Cartel, AL.com reported.
The grandmother and teen traveled with the two men and a woman to pick up a batch of methamphetamine in Norcross, Georgia. During the trip, something went wrong and Palomino and Aguilar became suspicious of a setup by Mendoza who reportedly had connections to the Sinaloa Cartel, Rutherford stated.
Early on June 4, the two men woke Mendoza and Lopez and told them they were in danger and they would take them someplace safe. They got in a car and drove to a cemetery in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.
Mendoza and Palomino got out of the car and began arguing about the drug buy, Rutherford testified about her interview with Aguilar, who confessed to the crimes. Agular said Palomino stabbed Mendoza to death. Police said that Agular was Mendoza’s boyfriend.
The two men got back in the car with the teenage girl and drove to a secluded area where Palomino told Agular to kill the 13-year-old because she witnessed her grandmother’s murder, the investigator testified. She said Agular told her that he was afraid of Palomino.
Palomino then ordered Agular to behead the girl as he made a sawing motion with his arms, Rutherford testified.
Three days later, police found the girls body and began an investigation that led back to the two men after Mendoza’s mother came forward and said the headless body might be her daughter. A week later, police confirmed the victim’s identity. About that same time, police found Mendoza’s body at the cemetery, the local news outlet reported.
Police obtained search warrants and found two knives under each of the suspect’s beds. Investigators also found blood in Palomino’s car, Rutherford testified.
Investigators said the two men became suspicious of a setup after they discovered Mendoza had removed a SIM card from her cell phone and that she had been testing to a “mystery number,” the Daily Mail reported. The news outlet also reported that in addition to Mendoza dating and living with Agular, she had also previously dated Palomino.