Fifth arrest in killing of Santa Cruz man

SOQUEL — Authorities arrested the fifth person accused of fatally stabbing and shooting a 41-year-old Santa Cruz man found dead 75 feet from the 5000 block of North Rodeo Gulch Road on Oct. 13 — three days after his family reported him missing to Santa Cruz police.

Jose Leonardo Alfaro Juarez was the fifth suspect arrested in the killing of Bernardo Rodas. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office) 

Jose Leonardo Alfaro Juarez, 20, was taken in custody Thursday in Mendota, where Santa Cruz County authorities learned he was hiding in a home, Undersheriff Craig Wilson said.

Juarez was booked at Santa Cruz County Jail on Thursday night in connection with killing Bernardo Rodas, who was stabbed in the torso and shot once in the head, authorities have said of the unincorporated county’s second investigated homicide this year.

From Oct. 16 to Oct. 19, detectives arrested one adult, Milton Arias Molina, 22, and two boys, a 17-year-old from Capitola and a 15-year-old from Santa Cruz on suspicion of murder, Wilson has said.

Molina is charged with murder while participating in a street gang and using a firearm and conspiracy. He is accused of lying in wait and killing someone for a street gang while released on bail.

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