Two arrested in triple homicide case from July

Published 9:51 am Monday, January 31, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Noel Garcia Esquivel, 28, of Montevallo and Abraham Pena Perez, 27, of Alabaster have been arrested on murder charges related to a July incident in Chilton County.

The charges stem from the investigation which started in July 2021 after three bodies were found in a burned SUV off of County Road 5014.

The victims were later identified as Gabriel Alonzo Rios Jr, 24; Gilberto Munoz Cabrera, 37; and Javier Quintero Gonzalez, 36.

According to a press release from the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, “On Jan. 27, 2022, the Sheriff’s Office executed Search Warrants on County Road 5014 and County Road 1080 in Chilton County. At that time, investigators recovered items of evidence that are believed to be linked to this investigation. Based on this evidence, as well as other evidence and statements collected during the course of this investigation, Investigators arrested Noel Garcia Esquivel, 28, of Montevallo and Abraham Pena Perez, 27, of Alabaster. Both Esquivel and Perez were charged with three counts of Murder. Both offenders are in the United States illegally. Information gathered during the investigation indicate that the individuals were involved in drug trafficking.”

Bond has been set by Judge Chris Speaks at $1.5 million on each count of murder, totaling $4.5 million each for Esquivel and Perez.

Sheriff John Shearon said in a phone interview that investigations such as this are always a team effort.

“I am proud of our team on the hard work they have done on it,” Shearon said.

He said it was good to have some closure on the case.

However, Shearon said the investigation is continuing, and there could be additional arrests made.

The victims had been identified by remains being taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, working with investigators in Tennessee and “samples provided from family members in Mexico,” according to the release. “… All three victims were from the Metro Nashville/Hendersonville Tennessee area. The autopsies completed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Science determined that at least two of the victims suffered from gunshot wounds prior to being burned, and the case was investigated as a homicide.”

The sheriff’s office had also released photos of persons of interested related to the case in July hoping someone would have relevant information.