Man suspected of carrying out murder-suicide ID’d

CHULA VISTA (CNS) – Police released the name Wednesday of a man suspected of fatally choking and bludgeoning his estranged girlfriend and her two young children in their Chula Vista home two days before leaping to his death off an East County freeway bridge.

Alfredo Almonte, 37, was found dead in a brushy ravine about 150 feet below an elevated section of State Route 125 in Spring Valley shortly before 5:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Lt. Lon Turner said. Almonte's death was ruled a suicide.

The self-employed handyman had parked a 2001 Hyundai Elantra belonging to his former girlfriend, 41-year old Mary Alvarez of Chula Vista, on the roadway, partly blocking a traffic lane.

The California Highway Patrol used registration records to trace the abandoned car to Alvarez, a special education instructional aide at San Ysidro High School.

Unable to summon anyone at the woman's Currant Way townhouse, CHP officers got a property manager to let them in so they could conduct a welfare check. They found the bodies Alvarez, her 12-year-old daughter, Angelica, and her 11-year-old son, Hamid, in three rooms of the tri-level residence.

All three had been strangled by some type of cord or rope, and the female victims also suffered severe blunt-force head injuries, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office.

Detectives concluded that the ex-boyfriend had murdered the family out of rage over the breakup of the couple's romantic relationship, police spokesman Bernard Gonzales said.

Almonte — a divorced Dominican Republic citizen who supported himself by doing odd jobs and construction pick-up work — had been living with the family for an undetermined amount of time, and all four had moved into the three-floor townhouse in a newly developed section of the Eastlake district of Chula Vista a few weeks before the murder-suicide occurred.

Alvarez, also divorced, either had already broken up with Almonte, who was not the youngsters' father, or was actively trying to at the time of her death, police said.

Police believe the jilted man killed the family early on the morning of May 30. Roughly 48 hours later, he hurled himself off the towering freeway bridge near Sweetwater Reservoir. Toll-road records indicated that he had entered the state route several miles to the south of that spot shortly after midnight, Turner said.

Postmortem tests showed that Almonte had traces of cocaine and morphine in his system.

Investigators have not found or identified the weapons Almonte used to strangle and bludgeon the victims, and details on the motivation for the slayings also remain elusive, Turner said.

“He didn't leave any notes behind to explain what happened or … why he was doing what he was doing,” the lieutenant said.

The couple had experienced no prior “significant” instances of domestic violence, according to Turner. Household disturbances had occurred, but they resulted in no arrests, he said.

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