Grandmother's killing in Gustine baffles investigators

6-year-old witnessed afternoon attack on quiet cul-de-sac.

June 26, 2009 

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MERCED SUN-STAR

Investigators have not yet determined a motive in the Wednesday stabbing that left a Gustine grandmother dead.

Linda Guzman, 49, was stabbed to death at her home on Sycamore Ave. around 10 a.m. Gustine police have arrested her 52-year-old brother-in-law, Alfonso Guzman.

Authorities said Linda Guzman's six-year-old granddaughter witnessed the stabbing and told investigators that the pair had been arguing when Alfonso Guzman attacked his brother's wife.

But authorities still don't know what they were fighting about, Gustine Police Chief Richard Calderon said Thursday.

"We're still interviewing relatives and others," Calderon said. "At this point, we don't have a clear picture of exactly what led up to (the stabbing)."

Among the relatives who have been interviewed is Linda Guzman's husband, Andy Guzman, Sr.,whose brother is accused of the murder, Calderon said.

The victim's husband, who was not home at the time of the stabbing, told police he wasn't sure what might have led to the attack, Calderon said.

Friends and neighbors described Linda Guzman as a caring grandmother who had lived in Gustine for more than three decades. She worked as a clerk at Richard's Market, Gas and Liquor in Gustine. She also coached Little League.

Police and paramedics arrived at the scene of the stabbing after the victim made her way to a neighbor's house with her granddaughter and collapsed on the lawn, where she died. The neighbor called 911.

The little girl was uninjured, police said.

The victim lived with her husband. His brother had been staying with them for at least several months, police said.

The murder is the seventh in Merced County this year and the first in Gustine since last June.

Alfonso Guzman remained in Merced County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $1 million bail.

Reporter Corinne Reilly can be reached at (209)385-2477 or creilly@mercedsun-star.com.