2 dead in Turlock ID'd; family of woman shaken

TURLOCK — Police on Tuesday identified the people who died in an apparent murder-suicide in the north side of town Monday as a Watsonville woman and a Keyes man.

According to authorities, Ricardo Sanchez, Jr., 34, shot Janelle Godinez, 33, in front of their 8-year-old son as they were exchanging custody of the boy.

The shooting took place in Godinez’ sport utility vehicle in a neighborhood near Pitman High School where some of Sanchez’ relatives live.

Lt. Ron Reid said Sanchez and Godinez had a longtime on-and-off relationship.

Godinez was picking up the boy from Sanchez shortly after 5 p.m. Both pulled their cars to the side of Grand Oak Court and he apparently got into her sport utility vehicle. His car was parked behind hers.

“They had an argument of some kind, then he shot her and then himself,” Reid said.

Godinez and Sanchez were declared dead at the scene. Both were shot in the upper torso; a gun was found near the car. Reid didn’t know how many times the gun was fired; police did not disclose what kind of gun was used.

The 8-year-old boy, who saw the argument and shooting, wasn’t hurt. Reid said he was shaken but “doing about as well as can be expected.” He was staying with relatives.

Danny Godinez of Watsonville said the family was making funeral arrangements Tuesday.

“She was my little sister,” he said, his voice breaking. “She was joyous. Very, very understanding.”

Family members of Sanchez could not be reached for comment.

The 8 year-old was the couple’s only child together; Reid said the two had an informal custody arrangement. Sanchez had a 15-year-old son who at the time of the shooting was with relatives a few blocks away.

Reid said police had a record of one prior incident involving the couple, but no arrests were made. He said investigators were checking with other agencies to see if they had any history.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at 578-2343.

View Larger Map

View 2011 Modesto homicides in a larger map
Related stories from Merced Sun-Star