Crime - Sacto 911

Mom says Placer slaying suspect wanted to be closer to his dad

Teresa Popovich talks about her son Robert Yandolino, who is in jail and accused of killing his father, prominent olive oil maker Carlo Alexander Yandolino. Carlo Yandolino was Popovich’s ex-husband.
Teresa Popovich talks about her son Robert Yandolino, who is in jail and accused of killing his father, prominent olive oil maker Carlo Alexander Yandolino. Carlo Yandolino was Popovich’s ex-husband. aseng@sacbee.com

The former wife of slain olive oil producer Carlo Alexander Yandolino – and mother of his suspected killer – said Saturday that her son, Robert Yandolino, had moved to Placer County from Southern California in January partly to be closer to his father.

“Robert (strove) to have a relationship with his father,” said Teresa Popovich, 54, who remarried after her divorce from Carlo Yandolino in 1993. “He wanted that more than anything.”

Father and son had a strained relationship through much of Robert’s life, Popovich said. Robert “tried to live with (his father) one time years ago, and it just didn’t work out,” she said.

Teresa Popovich talks about her son, Robert Yandolino, who is in jail and accused of killing his father, prominent olive oil maker Carlo Alexander Yandolino. Carlo Yandolino was Popovich’s ex-husband. Video by Andrew Seng/aseng@sacbee.com

Robert Yandolino, a onetime community college student and restaurant worker, moved north from Orange County because his girlfriend lives in Placer County, his mother said, but also to be nearer to his father. He recently had been interviewing for jobs, Popovich said, and did not live with Carlo Yandolino before his death.

Placer County sheriff’s deputies allege Robert Yandolino, 25, shot Carlo Yandolino, 58, on Thursday through the window of the elder Yandolino’s sport-utility vehicle at his ranch on Oakhurst Way in rural Placer County between Newcastle and Lincoln. The ranch’s address matches that of Monte Vista Ranch Olive Oil Co.

Deputies say Robert Yandolino fled by car. He was arrested Thursday at an apartment near Wildcat Boulevard and Ranchview Drive after a five-hour manhunt, Placer County authorities said.

Popovich flew to Sacramento from Orange County on Friday night in hope of seeing her son. As of Saturday afternoon, she had not been able to see him, she said. Yandolino remained in a booking cell at the Placer County jail, where visits are not allowed, a jail employee said Saturday.

Popovich came to The Sacramento Bee on Saturday, she said, to speak on her son’s behalf.

“Robert is not this hostile, angry kid that everybody is trying to play him to be,” she said, tearing up. “He has a heart.”

Popovich last heard from her son when he called her from jail Friday. He sounded confused, she said.

“He said, ‘I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know what happened,’ ” Popovich said.

Carla Meyer: (916) 321-1118, @CarlaMeyerSB. Bee staff writer Richard Chang contributed to this report.

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