Two arrested in connection to death of man whose body was found on Bangerter Highway
WEST JORDAN, Utah — Police say two people have been arrested in connection to the death of a man whose body was found on Bangerter Highway last month.
Officials with the West Jordan Police Department said 24-year-old Mario Alberto Carreto Morales and 30-year-old Raul Jaimes Cortez were booked into jail on charges of criminal homicide by assault, obstruction of justice and two counts of aggravated robbery.
Police responded to Bangerter Highway near 7800 South around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 26 after receiving reports of a body in the road.
Officers believe the victim, who was later identified as Cesar Adan Martinez, of West Valley City, was stabbed multiple times before being thrown from a moving vehicle.
Martinez recently moved to Salt Lake City and family members told KSL TV he served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Martinez’s truck was later found in Salt Lake City, and his death was ruled a homicide.
West Jordan police say detectives received numerous tips from the public which allowed them to focus on the two suspects.
Detectives located communications between Martinez and one of the suspects and later gathered evidence that placed the suspects “at very close proximity to the homicide.”
According to police, Cortez was taken into custody on Tuesday, and he admitted to being with Martinez and Morales on the night of the homicide.
Cortez also allegedly told police Morales wanted to rob Martinez while they were driving home.
“While driving Mr. Martinez home, an argument ensued between Mr. Martinez and (Morales) where (Morales) stabbed Mr. Martinez three times and pushed him out of the vehicle onto Bangerter Highway,” police said.
Officers added Cortez told them he and Morales then abandoned Martinez’s vehicle in Salt Lake City.
Morales was taken into custody later Tuesday. Police said he admitted to being with Martinez on the night of his death but the suspect denied stabbing Martinez and pushing him out of the car.
“Through our partnerships with the media and cooperation with the public, our detectives received numerous tips and were able to quickly identify two suspects. Coupled with countless hours of excellent police work and the assistance of our law enforcement partners, our Detectives were able to arrest those we believe are responsible in the death of Cesar Adan Martinez, allowing Mr. Martinez’s family to have the closure needed,” said Officer Samuel Winkler with the West Jordan Police Department.
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