HOUSTON, TX - Two siblings missing for nearly a month in Houston still haven't been found, but on Monday their nephew was arrested in Santa Monica, California, for a series of murders there. By Tuesday Houston Police had listed their nephew, Ramon Escobar, 47, as a person of interest in the disappearance of Dina and Rogelio Escobar.
Ramon was questioned by Houston Police on August 30, two days after Dina disappeared and four days after Rogelio disappeared, but after questioning, Ramon hit the road for California, Los Angeles Police detectives revealed in a press conference Tuesday.
August 30 is the day Galveston Police discovered Dina's minivan torched and abandoned on the beach on the dead end of 11 Mile Road, but they did not find any trace of Dina or Rogelio.
Ramon arrived in Los Angeles on September 5, and shortly after arriving, he began committing a series of violent attacks on the homeless, using a baseball bat to assault men as they slept, according to LAPD. Investigators say the primary motive for the attacks appears to be robbery.
Ramon was arrested Monday in connection with the attacks which left three dead and four injured.
Back in Houston, Ligia Salamanca hadn't seen her mother, Dina, in about a month when she received a call from a Houston Police detective Monday night.
"They wanted me to know before I saw it on the news that there was an arrest, that it was my cousin, and that it was for murders, and they were going to be questioning him on my mom and my uncle," said Ligia.
She says her cousin Ramon was living with her uncle Rogelio when the 65-year-old retiree disappeared August 26.
"My mom and uncle had a very close relationship to him," said Ligia "It's their sister's son."
Salamanca says her mom drove over to Rogelio's house on August 28 to look for him, and that's when she and her minivan disappeared.
With no sign of Dina or Rogelio, Ligia and her cousins searched daily for them--first in Houston, then in Galveston, after the discovery of the burned van. Ligia says Ramon never joined in the search effort.
"I tried to call him during one of the searches just as a plea, just if you know anything that could give us any clue as to the last days and where we should be searching, but he wouldn't answer my calls," said Ligia.
It wasn't until the detective's call Monday night that Ligia learned her cousin had moved out of Rogelio's house and gone to California.
"We don't know of any family members that live in California or why he would have chosen California," said Ligia.
California is where police released surveillance video of the man they'd been searching for in the series of homeless attacks. The video showed the man walking with a distinctive bowlegged gate. Monday morning an officer recognized Ramon Escobar as the suspect in the attacks and arrested him.
Los Angeles and Santa Monica police detectives will present four attempted murder investigations and three murder investigations to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Wednesday morning, according to LAPD.
Ramon Escobar's criminal record shows he is a convicted felon who was deported back to El Salvador after committing serious crime in the U.S., dating back to the 1990s, according to LAPD.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Dina and Rogelio Escobar is asked to contact Houston Police Missing Persons at 832-394-1840 or Houston Police Homicide at 713-308-3600.