INDIO (CNS) – A parolee, his daughter and another man accused in the killing of a 29-year-old man found dead in a Cathedral City park last month were charged with murder Tuesday.
Rena Lizette Alaniz of Thousand Palms was arrested Friday, and Andres Moreno of Cathedral City and Carlos Anthony Ruiz of La Quinta were taken into custody Saturday in connection with the death of Ruben Argentis Mujica of Palm Desert on Aug. 6, according to Cathedral City Police Department Cmdr. Paul Herrera.
Along with the murder count, Ruiz, 40, who is Alaniz’s father, also faces a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, making him eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors opt to pursue it.
Alaniz, 20, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, while arraignment is set for Moreno, 18, and Ruiz on Thursday, court records show. All three defendants remained behind bars Tuesday in lieu of $1 million bail, according to jail records.
According to Herrera, officers were sent to Century Park on Davall Drive at about 9:20 p.m. on Aug. 6 on a report of a fight, where a man was found suffering from life-threatening injuries. The man, later identified as Mujica, was rushed to an area hospital, where he died.
After taking over the case, homicide detectives began honing in on the father-daughter duo of Ruiz and Alaniz, who were identified as being primarily responsible for the homicide, according to police, who did not specify a motive in the case.
Moreno’s alleged role in the killing was also not specified.
“Through a very detailed and thorough investigation, Cathedral City detectives linked the victim to the suspects through various types of evidence and statements,” according to a police statement.
All three defendants were booked on suspicion of murder, although Moreno and Ruiz were additionally arrested on suspicion of robbery, although robbery charges were not filed Tuesday.
Ruiz is a convicted felon who was on parole at the time of his arrest, police said. He was convicted in 2004 of voluntary manslaughter in Riverside County, court records show. He also has three felony burglary convictions.
The other two defendants do not have any documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
Police are still seeking additional information in the killing, and urged witnesses to call Detective Sergeant Rick Sanchez at 760-202-2488. Anonymous tipsters can call the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME, or http://www.WeTip.com.
Updated: 9/1/20 2:03 p.m.