Crime

Document: Facebook messenger conversation helped detectives identify teen's killer

EL PASO, Texas - Court documents reveal detectives used a Facebook messenger conversation to track down one of the two suspects in the killing of 17-year-old Juan Manuel Cervantes. 

Police charged 18-year-old Daniel Raul Torres and 20-year-old Victor Alexander Valerio with Capital Murder. Police said Torres and Vallejo shot Cervantes during a drug deal set up so they could rob the victim. 

Police officers responded to a shooting shortly after 9pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Officers found Cervantes with gunshot wounds on the 8400 block of Hughes Circle in El Paso's Lower Valley.

A court document states the victim was conscious as a police officer rode in an ambulance with him. When the police officer asked the victim if he knew who shot him, he nodded yes. The victim stopped breathing as paramedics performed CPR, the court document states. 

Police said an investigation revealed Torres and Valerio allegedly worked together to set up an illicit drug purchase of Xanax with Cervantes.  Investigators obtained a search warrant for Cervantes' Facebook messenger account and learned he engaged in a conversation with a user named "EPT Danny Boy," who allegedly messaged Cervantes to set up the drug deal.

The night of the drug deal, "EPT Danny Boy" sent the victim a message stating "I'm Here." Cervantes replied with the "thumbs up" emoji. Six minutes later, police dispatch received a 911 call with the caller reporting shots had been fired. The call was later escalated to a "man down" response.

Police said the victim's cell phone, reported missing, may have been stolen by the suspects in an effort to destroy any digital footprint that may tie them to the crime. Investigators later learned "EPT Danny Boy" deleted his Facebook account, later tied to Daniel Torres, court documents state. Several profile photos of "EPT Danny Boy" were compared to booking photos of Torres and they matched, the court document further states. 

On December 6, 2017, Torres was arrested on an unrelated charge. A court document states Torres was caught stealing $150 worth of merchandise at the Walmart at 9441 Alameda. Torres allegedly stole winter clothing, makeup, hygiene items and bedding. 

Under interrogation, Torres allegedly implicated himself as one of the parties involved in the killing of Cervantes, the criminal complaint states. Torres allegedly admitted to using "EPT Danny Boy" on social media and allegedly told police Valerio was also involved in the murder. Torres further stated they threw the murder weapon out their getaway car, the document states.

Court documents further state police interviewed Dezitinee Rodarte, who in a sworn statement, told police her brother (Torres) told her he and his friends had done "something stupid." Rodarte and another woman named Harlee Diaz allegedly helped police identify Valerio via his facial tattoos.

Both men remain jailed without bond. 


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