On Dec. 26, officers from the US Customs and Border Patrol located a “vehicle that was associated with a missing persons case from San Ysidro” with a deceased man and woman inside, according to the San Diego Police Department.
Though police declined to identify the victims, family members claimed to KNSD that they were Johnny Soto, 52, and Melissa Soto, 45.
“Detectives have been investigating this incident since the male and female were reported missing by family members last week,” Shebloski said of their Dec. 20 disappearances. “The initial investigation indicated the male and female were missing under suspicious circumstances. The exact nature of what occurred and why they were missing is still under investigation.”
Johnny Soto was found with a single gunshot wound to the head, officials said. His wife’s injuries weren’t obvious, and her cause of death is to be determined by the coroner.
According to relatives, the Sotos had separated in July after more than 20 years of marriage.
Police obtained surveillance video from neighbors, which allegedly showed Melissa’s car pulling into the driveway of the Soto home around 9 p.m. on Dec. 20, KNSD reported.
The neighbor told KNSD that a man appeared to get out of the driver’s seat. At 10:19 p.m., the same car pulled out of the driveway and backed in. Another neighbor’s surveillance video showed the garage door and car trunk both open six minutes later. Police checked the trunk and nothing was found, family members said.
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The neighbor told KNSD that he then saw a man get back in his silver Toyota Tacoma before driving off at 10:33 p.m. The neighbor said he never saw Melissa Soto on his surveillance footage.
KNSD reported that the couple’s youngest son, Vincent Soto, was the last to see the pair on Dec. 20. He was at the house when his father asked him to leave for a while because they former couple had to talk. Vincent left and returned to the house about an hour and a half later after his father texted saying they’d left.
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The ex-couple, however, never returned and Vincent Soto and his older siblings, Elise and Alexia, called police the next morning.
Johnny Soto reportedly took his wallet and phone with him, but Melissa’s wallet and phone were still in the house, KNSD reported.
“We all had high hopes that they would at least come back for Christmas,” Alexia Soto said, according to KNSD.
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