A homicide at the Musicland Hotel in Palm Springs prompted the victim’s sister to identify him as Jason Gregory Banks.
“He was like my son. He was everything to me. And today is his birthday. And he was a good person,” said Banks’ sister, Caroline Abdenschoen, through tears.
Police say they found Banks in a bathtub at Musicland Hotel in Palm Springs on Saturday morning and deemed the death suspicious.
Abdenschoen says the hotel room was not paid for by her brother but his female friend, a resident of La Quinta.
“Now, no one can get in touch with her, no one can find her, she is not answering any phone calls, nothing,” said Abdenschoen.
On Sunday afternoon, Palm Springs Police served a search warrant in Palm Desert where they arrested 36-year-old Maciel Rogelio Cruz.
Authorities say Cruz has a history of violent crime and drug peddling but have not said what, if any, connection there is between Banks and Cruz.
Police say they have not identified if Cruz had a motive, but Abdenschoen says Cruz was jealous of her brother because of Banks’ relationship with the woman who paid for the hotel.
According to Abdenschoen, Cruz also knew her.
“My brother told me himself when he met him, he said, ‘yeah the guy is crazy, sis. But I’m not scared,” Abdenschoen said.
Police arrested Cruz at a home in Palm Desert where neighbors say he lived with his mother.
Several neighborhood residents said they would not comment on camera out of fear of Cruz and people he chooses to associate with.
“He’s almost killed a couple of guys in the past. Beat them almost to death,” Abdenschoen said.
Police meanwhile say they are still trying to put the pieces together to make their case airtight.
“There is a lot of questions. There is more questions right now then answers. So were going to keep investigating this as far as we can go. We’re obviously going to question the person that we have detained and see what kind of information we can get from that person and move forward from there,” said Sgt. Michael Casavan of the Palm Springs Police Department.
Abdenschoen says today is her brothers birthday and that he has a wife who lives in Oklahoma.
“I just want to die myself. I don’t even want to live without my brother,” Abdenschoen said.
The Palm Springs Police department would not confirm nor deny any of what Abdenschoen told KMIR about Banks, Cruz or the woman who allegedly paid for the hotel room.
One question that has yet to be answered is how the Banks died.
Anyone with more information about the case is urged to contact the Palm Springs Police Department.