No bond for third suspect in weekend kidnapping, shooting

EDINBURG — A man who told a murder victim’s father that he had been kidnapped along with his missing son as authorities were trying to find him is now accused of that man’s murder.

Mission resident Alfredo Huerta, 19, made a first appearance just before 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon in front of Place 1 Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Jason Peña, who read the man his rights and ordered him held without bond.

Huerta is charged with capital murder along with 25-year-old Julio Cesar Deleon, of Peñitas, and Mission resident Edna Rivera, 28, who are also being held without bond on capital murder charges.

The trio is accused of orchestrating the shooting death of Fernando Garza Jr., 23, who deputies found dead with a gunshot wound to his face in an orchard between Mile 11 and Mile 12 on Iowa Road.

Authorities believe Deleon shot and killed Garza on July 24. Deputies found his body Saturday and arrested Deleon and Rivera that same day.

Probable cause affidavits for the arrests of Deleon and Rivera describe how while the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office was searching for Garza, the victim’s father, Fernando Garza Sr., encountered Huerta and a man named Luis Domingo Dominguez while looking for his son, who at that time was only considered missing.

“(Huerta) told him that he, (Dominguez) and Fernando had been kidnapped,” the affidavit read. “(Huerta) stated that (Deleon) had shot and killed Fernando in an orchard and that he and (Dominguez) managed to escape.”

Rivera, however, told investigators that she helped Deleon and Huerta bind the hands of Garza and another man she only knew as “Gordo,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavits do not identify Dominguez as “Gordo.”

Dominguez told investigators that Huerta and Deleon bound him and Garza at gunpoint in Rivera’s Mission residence and took them to the orchard where Deleon shot and killed Garza.

“(Deleon) and (Huerta) took him to a separate location where the vehicle was left behind,” the affidavit read.

Authorities have provided no details about Dominguez and the affidavit doesn’t describe whether he escaped or was let go.

Several other affidavits detail how investigators discovered methamphetamine, marijuana and Xanax inside two black duffle bags inside Rivera’s Mission residence, where Garza had been staying.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals, Office of Air and Marine, Border Patrol Tactical Unit, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s mounted patrol and tracking dogs helped find the man, according to a press release.

A sheriff’s investigator said after the arraignment that Huerta was picked up in Pharr.

Hidalgo County jail records show he also has a fugitive warrant for cocaine trafficking out of South Carolina.

mreagan@themonitor.com