Two jailed in Puerto Rico over killing of military family

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2014 12:34 AM

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Two men were jailed in Puerto Rico on Wednesday on charges of killing a retired U.S. Army sergeant and three members of his family, as well as attempting to kill the victims' 13-year-old son by beating him and throwing him off a bridge.

A Bayamon judge set the bail for Christopher Sanchez Asencio, 27, and Jose Bosch Mulero, 26, at $8 million after authorities charged each with first-degree murder in the attack at the victims' home on Monday night, police said.

Police identified the victims as Miguel Ortiz Díaz, 66, his wife Carmita Uceda Ciriaco, 45, his mother-in-law Clementina Ciriaco López, 67, and his 15-year-old son. The 13-year-old son of the victims survived the attack and is receiving medical care under police protection.

Puerto Rican authorities say the killings in the gated Frailes community of Guaynabo, just west of San Juan, were allegedly triggered by a dispute over back rent Sanchez Asencio owed on a house he rents from the family.

Police said Ortiz Diaz, who retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant first class, was gagged and shot to death against a sofa in the living room, while the two women were made to kneel down nearby and then shot.

Police believe the suspects attempted to kill the children as well but kidnapped them when their weapons failed. They shot the older boy to death and dumped his body on the side of a rural city road.

The pair apparently ran out of bullets when attempting to kill the 13-year-old boy, so they beat him and then threw him off a bridge, leaving him for dead. The boy survived, managing to alert a neighbor and then police.

The murders were the seventh multiple killing in Puerto Rico this year, police said.

The two suspects both face 20 counts, including four first- degree murder charges, one attempted murder charge, and aggravated assault, kidnapping, and weapons violation charges, among others, police said.

(Reporting by Reuters in San Juan; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Paul Tait)