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Suspect in Delano cemetery killing arrested in Ohio

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Anthony Ray Torres

Delano police traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to arrest teenager Anthony Ray Torres in connection with the 6-month-old slaying at the Delano cemetery, officials announced last week.

On Feb. 5, at 5:35 p.m., Delano police officers went to the North Kern Cemetery at Garces Highway and Albany Street for a report of shots fired. Once officers arrived, they found Joel Santos Maldonado suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and he later died. Delano police secured the scene and detectives responded and assumed the investigation.

Police said physical evidence was found at the scene that belonged to the suspect as well as video surveillance from numerous cameras, which had been recently installed as part of the city of Delano citywide camera system. From this video, detectives said they were able to obtain a preliminary identification of the suspect, but further investigation was needed to corroborate the identification.

Officials said many items of evidence were processed, numerous witnesses were contacted, and detectives attempted to locate the suspect through various means.

After months of monitoring and surveillance, officials said detectives were able to locate the potential suspect, who had fled to Ohio shortly after the killing occurred.

Surveillance and monitoring continued until the Delano police detectives received confirmation that their preliminary identification was correct. This confirmation of the suspect’s identity was made by DNA. Detectives submitted the case to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office for review, where an arrest warrant was issued.

On Aug. 19, Delano police detectives flew to Ohio and in collaboration with the Columbus Police Department’s Homicide Bureau and their SWAT Team arrested 18-year-old Torres on suspicion of one count of homicide.

Torres was arraigned on Aug. 21 in Columbus, Ohio, and will be extradited to California for criminal prosecution.