A gunshot-filled, 100-mile pursuit ended Saturday in the Arizona desert with the fatal shooting of one suspect and the capture of a second accused in last week’s slaying of 84-year-old Olga Dinelli of Penngrove.
The two people pursued along Interstate 10 near the California border were among three suspects either captured or shot dead Saturday in the still-unexplained killing of the elderly Dinelli at her rural home west of Old Redwood Highway. Sheriff’s officials remained tight-lipped Sunday about what they believe transpired at Dinelli’s ranch and whether they are still looking for more suspects.
The suspects that were cornered in Arizona fired “numerous rounds” at passing motorists during their lengthy flight across a remote stretch of eastern Riverside County, according to law enforcement officers. The two also allegedly opened fire on a Quartzsite, Ariz., police officer who had set down “spike strips,” devices that punctured the tires of the suspects’ vehicle and brought it to a halt along the freeway. When confronted outside the vehicle, a suspect identified in some news accounts as a woman, brandished a gun and was shot to death by a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy.
The second suspect, Victor Silva, 27, of Marin County, was arrested and will face extradition to Sonoma County, sheriff’s officials here said.
Also on Saturday, Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives went to Richmond and arrested without incident a third suspect in the case. John Bruno Martinez, 27, of Richmond was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit a crime.
On Thursday, a friend found Dinelli’s body slumped in a chair at her two-story ranch house on Rose Avenue, a dead-end lane less than a mile west of the intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Adobe Road. Her home was “in complete disarray” with the presence of considerable blood, according to sheriff’s officials.
A red two-door 1998 Lexus SC400 was missing, though it was located a day later at a still-undisclosed location.
Investigators didn’t publicly declare Dinelli’s death a homicide until nearly 24 hours after her body was found.
Sheriff’s officials didn’t reveal their methods, but on Friday investigators identified possible suspects and on Saturday they “discovered that the suspects were traveling eastbound” on Interstate 10 in Riverside County, according to a press release from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha.
The suspects were “possibly driving a rental car,” Focha wrote. If that vehicle had been equipped with GPS capabilities, that could account for the ability of officers to track its whereabouts.
After being notified by Sonoma County, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies went in search at about 2:15 p.m. and near the city of Indio found both a vehicle and two individuals matching the description of the suspects, according to a Riverside sheriff’s press release. When the deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, it sped off with two people inside.
According to news accounts, the La Paz County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Office reported that one of the suspects was a woman. Calls to the La Paz Sheriff’s Office for confirmation were not returned Sunday afternoon.
The deputies gave chase as the man and woman headed east on the interstate. As CHP officers joined the pursuit through the desert, reports began to come in that the two suspects were firing on passing motorists. Deputies later determined the pair had fired numerous rounds at other cars.