Investigators with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office believe 24-year-old Saul Galindo Rodriguez beat 59-year-old Gerardo Gonzalez to death with a baseball bat during an argument over wages.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said Rodriguez was a former employee of Gonzalez, who owned a welding shop.
After his arrest Tuesday, Guerra said Rodriguez confessed.
“Rodriguez then provided a voluntary statement of accused where he admitted to striking the victim on the head with a baseball bat after an argument over the wages which was owed to him by the victim,” Guerra said.
The investigation began Sunday morning after Gonzalez’s wife reported him missing.
“After noticing that her husband had not arrived home she decided to go check on him at the shop. She didn’t find him,” Guerra said at the news conference. “She did, however, notice that his vehicle was missing and the building was left unsecured. The lights were still on. And she found that was uncommon.”
The last time she spoke to her husband was 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.
When deputies arrived at the couple’s welding shop, evidence inside lead them to believe a violent incident occurred there.
“During the initial search of the shop deputies did find a wooden bat with traces of blood on it and a pool of blood on the ground outside the shop,” Guerra said.
Here’s video of the arraignment.
Here's video Saul Galindo Rodriguez's arraignment on capital murder accusations pic.twitter.com/LHiTE1Onkv
— Mark Reagan (@RGVReagan) June 3, 2020
Investigators eventually found Gonzalez in his vehicle about 10 miles away from his home near Mile 1 East and Mile 10 North in rural Mercedes.
“During the investigation into the whereabouts of the victim, cell records were obtained. The victim was found deceased in his vehicle,” Guerra said.
Gonzalez, however, didn’t drive himself there, and authorities believe that another person may be involved in the homicide Rodriguez is accused of committing.
“We believe through the statements that Mr. Rodriguez made (that another person is involved), and we don’t believe that he was able to put the body inside the vehicle by himself and other evidence inside the vehicle leads us to believe there was another person,” Guerra said.
Investigators believe Rodriguez and possibly another person walked away from the vehicle after it got stuck in mud.
“The vehicle was left abandoned because they got stuck in the mud so they had to walk from there,” Guerra said.
As the investigation unfolded, Guerra said authorities learned that Rodriguez had been at the welding shop that Saturday.
“Additionally, investigators found tools from the shop and money from the victim’s wallet were missing, according to witness statements,” Guerra said. “Rodriguez’s wife was located and it was learned he had arrived home Sunday morning admitting to her that he had killed someone.”
During his arraignment, Rodriguez claimed self defense and Guerra confirmed the two had a scuffle.
“He hit me first and I defended myself,” Rodriguez told Justice of the Peace Jason Peña at his arraignment.
Rodriguez is being held without bond on a charge of capital murder.
He has no criminal history and is a Mexican citizen from Rio Bravo, according to authorities.
The investigation is going.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to call the investigators at (956) 383-8114. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (956) 668-TIPS or can submit a tip through the smartphone application P3 TIPS.