Los Banos homicide suspect to be released

vpatton@mercedsun-star.comMarch 26, 2012 

A suspect wanted in the slaying of a 23-year-old Los Banos man was recently arrested, although his stay at the Merced County Jail will likely be a short one.

Salvador Vega Rendon Jr., 19, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing Felipe Hernandez Bravo Jr.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman, said Rendon turned himself in to his lawyer before being booked into the jail. Before the arrest, Rendon had been profiled as one of Merced County's Most Wanted.

Despite the arrest, Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II acknowledged Monday there's not enough evidence to try Rendon in the case. As a result, Morse said Rendon will be released no later than Tuesday.

Morse didn't elaborate on the circumstances or details of the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

The victim's body was discovered by a state parks lifeguard New Year's Day inside the trunk of car in Monterey County's Moss Landing area. The vehicle was abandoned with its windows open off Potrero Road, near a bridge over the Old Salinas River channel, not far from the beach, according to the Monterey County Herald.

Monterey County deputies recently turned the case over to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department because detectives believe the homicide itself happened in Merced County, and the victim’s body was taken to Monterey County.

Deputies haven't released any new details about a possible motive for the slaying. The victim and Rendon had known each other for at least two months before the homicide, MacKenzie said.

Managing Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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