A Florida man got into a dispute over childcare that grew so heated he murdered his wife and then took his own life by slashing his throat, according to authorities.
On Oct. 17, a 10-year-old boy ran to his neighbor’s house in Deltona yelling his stepfather, later identified as 31-year-old Oscar Mercado Salazar, had stabbed the child’s mother, Byanca Cruz, during a violent altercation, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
Officers responding to the home around 6:15 p.m. found Cruz, 26, dead at the scene and Salazar still alive. He was transported to an area hospital but died around an hour later from his self-inflicted injuries.
During an interview with detectives, the boy said his stepfather also tried to attack and stab him but was unsuccessful, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The initial investigation indicates Cruz and Mercado were arguing over Mercado’s discipline of one of her three children when Mercado attacked Cruz with a knife,” officials said.
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The sheriff’s office noted that during the five months the family had been living in the home, “detectives learned arguments were overheard from the house on more than one occasion, but none of them resulted in any calls or reports to law enforcement.”
Officials said Mercado was previously charged in 2016 with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, who they identified as Cruz.
“The children will need a lot of love and support as they deal with this tragedy today and for the rest of their lives,” the sheriff wrote on Twitter about the murder-suicide. “I am just so sorry for their pain.”
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