No Case Too Cold for LAPD Detectives
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Harbor Community Police Station
2175 John S. Gibson Boulevard, San Pedro
Chief Bernard C. Parks and Harbor Detectives
San Pedro: Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks, along with Harbor Homicide Detectives, will conduct a press conference, today, to announce the capture of a murder suspect who had been eluding arrest for almost 32 years.
On February 4, 1970, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the victim, a one year-old male infant boy, was taken to Harbor General Hospital by his parents, Lee Roy Montoya and Yolanda Montoya, along with his uncle and aunt, Andy and Cecilia Montoya. The victim was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m. Harbor Area Detectives investigated the death at that time and listed the death as an undetermined death. The detectives noted the victim had a small bruise in the center of the forehead and also bruises on the stomach below the navel and the right elbow. The father, Lee Roy Montoya, was interviewed at the time by detectives. He stated that the victim had suffered the bruise on the forehead several days ago, when he fell off the couch at their residence. He further stated that the victim had been ill for approximately four days with occasional vomiting, and had not been treated by a physician. The victim's body was removed to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.
On September 16, 1970, the investigating detectives were notified of the results of the autopsy, which indicated the victim had suffered internal injuries that were not consistent with a fall from a couch. The cause of death was now listed as abdominal hemorrhage and peritonitis due to blunt force trauma of the abdomen. The detectives attempted to contact the victim's parents on October 16, 1970. The Detectives received information that the parents had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the week of February 5–12, 1970. No further information was received.
Last year, at the direction of the Harbor Operations Support Division (OSD) commanding officer to bring closure to some of the area’s unsolved homicides, detectives assigned to Harbor Area began the arduous task of reviewing homicide cases whose trails had gone "cold."
In October 2001, Detectives Christopher Merlo and Daniel Garcia, Harbor OSD Homicide Unsolved Unit, were reviewing old cases when they came across the case involving the aforementioned victim. The detectives conducted a search for the parents of the victim with the use of Auto Track and located both parents and witnesses in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On January 23, 2002, Detectives Merlo and Garcia flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico to interview the parents of the victim. With assistance from Albuquerque Police Department detectives, Detectives Merlo and Garcia located and interviewed the mother of the victim. Yolanda Montoya told the detectives that her ex-husband had beaten the victim approximately four days prior to the victim's death.
Armed with this information and additional evidence, the detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Deputy District Attorney Goul filed one count of murder against the father, Lee Roy Montoya, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Armed with the warrant, the detectives located and arrested the suspect at his residence in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This media advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.