Men Arrested in Missing Couple Case Could Potentially Face Death Penalty, Legal Analyst Says

Daytona Everett

On Saturday the Riverside Sheriff’s Department said in a press release they arrested three men in connection with the murders of missing couple Jonathan Darling Reynoso and Audrey Moran.

Twenty-eight-year-old Manuel Rios of Coachella, 32-year-old Abraham Fregoso of Indio 41-year-old  Jesus Ruiz Jr. of Stockton were arrested for murder and booked into local Riverside County jails.

The couple went missing on May, 12, 2017. It’s not clear when the case went from a missing persons’ case to a homicide investigation.

According to reports, that day in May, Audrey left her sister’s Coachella home to pick up Jonathan from an outing with friends around 8 p.m., other than a picture of the couple sent via text from Audrey’s phone to her mom, no one heard from them. Jonathan was last seen at his Palm Desert apartment earlier that day.

The following day, Audrey’s car was was found on the shoulder of the westbound 10 freeway in Beaumont.

“Considering the circumstances and considering we’re Riverside County, there’s a high probability that at least it will be considered for a death penalty case,”John Patrick Dolan, NBC Palm Springs legal news analyst and Dean of the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law.

Dolan has covered high profile cases similar to this one.

“It’s going to be a very, very challenging case for both the prosecution and the defense,” he said.

The last three years, the sheriff’s department has remained tight-lipped about evidence and random diggings of backyards in Coachella which were thought to possibly have a connection with the case.

“The big question is what is the reason for this, what is the motive for this,” Dolan said. “That’ll be a huge issue.”

He said this murder mystery is still far from over with a long legal battle ahead.

“it’s going to be a long time before there’s a resolution but i think for the families involved of course they feel like this is a major step towards resolution.”

The sheriff’s department says they are still investigating the case and encourage the public to call the tipline with information (760) 393-3544.

More stories on Jonathan and Audrey can be seen at these links:

Parents Hopeful a Month After Daughter and Boyfriend Disappear


KMIR News Exclusive: Loved Ones Mark the Somber Anniversary of Couple’s Disappearance


After Two Years Investigators Confident Missing Coachella Valley Couple Case Will Be Solved


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