San Mateo murder suspect arrested in NY

October 14, 2009 6:55:47 PM PDT
Fifteen-year-old Quetzalcoatl Alba was a Westmoor High School freshman in 2001 when his body was found in a Daly City apartment complex storage locker. He had been stabbed to death.

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"It broke my heart and everybody else's heart at Westmoor," said Westmoor soccer coach Omar Rashid.

Eight years later, both suspects in his murder are in custody. Reynaldo Maldanado was arrested in Miami two years ago and on Monday, Erick Morales was caught in New York.

Daly City senior detective Albert Cisneros says Maldanado was captured after a friend turned him in.

"Mr. Maldanado basically told his friend that he had killed someone in California and this person not believing it, said well, prove it," said Cisneros.

He proved it with a photo, Cisneros says, that Maldanado took the picture of Morales leaning over the body. Once in custody, Maldanado told police to search the backyard of the Daly City home the two suspects shared in 2001.

"Lo and behold, we found a tin containing what we believed to be the weapon, items of clothing and personal effects of the victim," said Cisneros.

Police then had enough for a warrant for Morales, but it was a DUI that brought him in Monday morning, after giving police in Long Island a false name, they ran his fingerprints.

Alba's sister-in-law says it's been an excruciating wait.

"It's bittersweet. You wait for something so long that you are not even sure how to feel about it when it happens, but we are obviously very happy," said Kristin Sanchez.

Rashid says Alba was a good kid, quiet and well-liked by his teachers.

The soccer team he would have played on won the championship in 2003. His friend wore a shirt with Alba's number, 12, underneath his jersey and the game was dedicated to him.

"When we had a memorial for him at school, I stood there and I said 'I promise you whoever did this will be caught.' I am glad the promise is kept," said Rashid.

Now police and the family have a question for the suspects.

"We want to know why. Now that we know who and we know that they are in custody, I think the final piece of the puzzle is why," said Sanchez.

The charges against Maldanado and Morales are murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait. Maldanado's trial should begin soon and Morales cold be brought back to California any day now.

Alba's family says they only wish the boy's mother could know the suspects were both caught. She died three years ago.

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