The longer Sacramento police detectives worked behind barricades and crime tape that marked Salvador Vasquez-Oliva’s home, the more South Land Park neighbors wondered.
Investigators worked for three days inside the house on 35th Avenue – on Thursday, when four bodies were discovered, all day Friday and into Saturday night – even as neighbors, friends and strangers gathered on the street to express their sorrow and remember the four who were killed, including two children.
“Why are they still here?” asked Rita Munoz about the detectives Saturday evening as she and others met at 35th Avenue and Gloria Drive for a candlelight vigil. She knew the children. They played with her grandchildren. “What did he do to them?”
On Tuesday, details of the deaths of Angelique Vasquez, 45, her daughter Mia Vasquez, 14, son Alvin Vasquez, 11, and niece Ashley Coleman, 21, emerged in a four-page felony complaint filed by prosecutors in Sacramento Superior Court.
Vasquez and her children were killed with a blunt-force instrument, and a knife was used to kill Coleman, the complaint alleges.
The killings happened sometime March 22, a day before a concerned family member’s call to authorities brought police to the home in the 1100 block of 35th Avenue. Vasquez-Oliva was arrested 91 miles away by San Francisco police, near Pierce Street and Golden Gate Avenue in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood, hours after the Sacramento officers’ grim find.
Online records showed he once lived in a nearby apartment on Turk Street in San Francisco.
The brief four-page felony complaint expanded on the allegation, read by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi at Vasquez-Oliva’s Monday arraignment, that said the Sacramento man used “a deadly and dangerous weapon” to kill the four victims.
Vasquez-Oliva is scheduled to return to a Sacramento courtroom April 18 for further arraignment. He is being held without bail at Sacramento County Main Jail. A motive for the killings remains a mystery.
County records show Vasquez-Oliva and Angelique Vasquez wed in June 2002 in San Francisco. The Sacramento County marriage license listed the groom as a head soccer coach, born in El Salvador. Vasquez was an administrative assistant working in the health care industry at the time.
Vasquez-Oliva and Vasquez both worked for the state of California – he for 12 years as an office technician, she for 11 years as a personnel technician for the state’s Employment Development Department.
Both adults were listed as parents in birth certificates for Mia and Alvin Vasquez. The siblings were born at Sutter Memorial Hospital in East Sacramento, the birth certificates show.
The children, who attended Sam Brannan Middle School and John Cabrillo Elementary School, were remembered at the campuses as polite, well-liked and athletic. Mia was a goalkeeper for her school’s soccer team, while Alvin enjoyed playing basketball, neighbors and teachers said.
City leaders and neighbors gathered near the Vasquez home Saturday for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims. At the children’s schools, counselors were on hand to offer support to classmates. Officials at the schools said the children’s parents were “always very supportive.”
Surrounded by reporters Monday outside Sueyoshi’s courtroom at the downtown jail, Vasquez-Oliva’s court-appointed lawyer Linda Parisi said she knew only what she had read from news reports and was waiting for police reports to learn more about the case.
“It’s such a tragedy when there has been a loss of life such as this,” Parisi said. “It’s a profound sense of loss to the community.”
On Tuesday, Rod Norgaard, Sacramento County assistant chief deputy district attorney, declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation into the killings.