ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman did not mince words when he spoke to WBTV Anchor Maureen O’ Boyle Thursday afternoon.
“I would call it a mass murder,” said Bowman, talking about a homicide investigation that began as a house fire last month. “Probably execution style.”
For a man who has worked in law enforcement for the last 40 years, this investigation has taken a toll on his entire office.
“It’s taken a toll on everybody because of the way you know the two children were killed,” described Bowman. “It’s just unusual for something like that to happen in our county.”
In mid-June, firefighters were called out to a home on Pine Meadows Lane in Alexander County.
Two children were found dead inside the home after the flames were extinguished and investigators deemed the fire to be intentionally set. The two children were later identified as 11-year-old Angel Pacheco and his 13-year-old sister America Pacheco.
The children’s mother, 38-year-old Maria Calderon, is still missing, but officials believe she is deceased.
Now Bowman believes two more people, the mother’s boyfriend and friend, Jose Carlos Mendez and Luis Fernando Sanchez, may also be victims.
“Right now we have three unaccountable bodies,” said the Sheriff. “We know there are people out there who know something but they may be afraid to talk to law enforcement. I just want to stress they don’t need to be afraid.”
In the last few weeks new tips and leads have expended their search into Ashe and Wilkes counties.
Police said 30-year-old Areli Aguiree Avilez and 16-year-old Heidi Darlene Wolfe were each charged with three counts of murder in connection to the case.
The Sheriff previously told WBTV News the man indicted in the killing is in the United States illegally.
Aguirre-Alivez is being held without bond. Even if bond was granted, Aguirre-Avilez will not be set free due to an ICE detainer, the sheriff says.
He was also indicted one on count of violation of domestic violence order with a deadly weapon and one count of statutory rape of a child under 15. The statutory rape charge did not involve Calderon or her two children, officials say.
Investigators say the fire that started the investigation was intentionally set at a home on Pine Meadows Lane in Alexander County late at night on Saturday, June 15.
Court documents, obtained by WBTV last Thursday, stated that Wolfe admitted to detectives that she went to the home with Avilez and that he shot and killed two people inside. When a female who Wolfe thought was a child ran out of the home, the documents state, Avilez told Wolfe to run her over. Wolfe says she did what she was told, ultimately running over and killing Calderon.
Calderon’s body is still missing, and investigators are still searching for Mendez and Sanchez.
Anyone with any information about the case is urged to call the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office at 828-632-4658 or Alexander County Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555.