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South County Major Crimes Unit highlights unsolved murder cases

South County Major Crimes Unit identifies King City homicide suspect

GREENFIELD, Calif. - UPDATE 5/21/2018 5:10 p.m.: Shedding light on some of South Monterey County’s unsolved murders. 

Between King City and Greenfield, there are more than 70 unsolved murders dating back to 1999. On Monday, the Major Crimes Unit, a task force made up of law enforcement officers from those agencies, highlighted three cases in particular, two of them are more than a decade old.

That includes the 2006 deadly stabbing of 21 year old Jose Cruz Rojas in King City. He was at a party at an apartment on South San Lorenzo Avenue when he was stabbed to death. Authorities recently identified a suspect, Noel Palaez Valentin, who is still on the run.

"After the stabbing, Valentin fled to the area of Southern California,” said King City Police Chief Robert Masterson. “This case was assigned to the Major Crimes Unit on November 19, 2017, and after a lengthy investigation with our newly formed unit and George Ramirez from the District Attorney's Office, the district attorney filed murder charges against Mr. Valentin. He is currently outstanding and has a warrant for his arrest with a $1 million bail."

Rojas’ family did not attend Monday’s briefing. Detectives say 12 years later, the family is still reeling.

"The family took a hard toll,” said Det. Joshua Partida. “The brother is traumatized from this incident and a lot of the family is still suffering from it which is one of the reasons why they didn't show up today. We reached out to them, we tried to get them to come but it's just so hard on their family even though it was years ago. Just talking about it, you can still see the emotion in their hearts."

There’s another cold case that investigators are hoping to turn up the heat on.

July 2007, Greenfield police responded to a report of a man yelling for help in the alley in the 200 block of Cedar Drive. When they got to the scene, they noticed an opened side gate leading into a backyard. As officers walked into the backyard, they passed a side window of a garage and saw Martin Macareno, 42, on the floor. 

Nearly 11 years later, the case is still cold. 

"There were two farm workers who were living there and renting the garage from the folks who lived in the front house,” said Capt. Allen Rowe. “Immediately after the homicide they fled the area to Southern California taking the landlord's pickup truck. It was recovered in Pomona about eight days after the homicide. Those individuals are still outstanding. They may not be suspects, they may be witnesses who were frightened from that."

Macareno’s family pleaded for anyone to come forward with information in the case. There is a $50,000 Governor’s Reward to encourage anyone with information to come forward. 

"Gotta come out of the shadows, you gotta fight back, you gotta be able to stand up for those who can't speak and there's a lot of people that can't speak but you can do it for them," Martin’s brother said.

Investigators also talked about a recent case, the unsolved murder of teenager Luis Cuevas. January 2018, he was walking home on the 1000 block of Oak Street in Greenfield when a group of people attacked him. There are no suspects in the case. There is a $3,000 reward for his murder. 

Investigators have exhausted their leads and are asking anyone to come forward. Anyone can call in tips to the WeTip hotline at 800-78-CRIME. 

ORIGINAL POST: Law enforcement agencies announced new developments in three homicide cases in South Monterey County. 

On Monday, Greenfield Police Chief Denise Oglesby, and King City Police Chief Robert Masterson, held a news conference to update the public on the following Major Crimes Unit Investigations:

1) 2006 King City Homicide- Victim Jose Cruz Rojas.
2) 2007 Greenfield Homicide- Victim Martin Macareno.
3) 2018 Greenfield Homicide- Victim Luis Cuevas.

16-year-old Luis Cuevas was shot and killed in the 1000 block of Oak Street on January 4, 2018. When officers arrived they found him on the sidewalk with gunshot wounds to the body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Authorities said Cuevas was approached by multiple suspects. 

A $3,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects in this case. 

Luis Cuevas pictured below:

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On July 5, 2007 Greenfield PD responded to a report of a man yelling for help in an alley in the 200 block of Cedar Drive. When officers arrived they noticed a side gate open leading into the backyard of a home. Officers looked through a side window and saw 42-year-old Martin Macareno lying on the garage floor. Macareno was severely injured and died at the scene.  

Martin Macareno pictured below:

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On February 23, 2006, 21-year-old Jose Cruz Rojas was fatally stabbed at a gathering at an apartment complex on 124 S. San Lorenzo Avenue in King City. 

The suspect was identified by witnesses as Noel Palaez Valentin. Authorities said after the stabbing Valentin took off to Southern California. 

A warrant has been issued for Valentin's arrest. 

KION's Mariana Hicks will have the latest updates at 5 and 6 p.m. 


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