The Maloney family had just returned from a Thanksgiving vacation when they were killed this weekend driving back to their home in Sonoma. Their home was burglarized Monday night and police say they know who is responsible.
The suspects are Michael Gutierrez and Amber True. Gutierrez served several years in the state penitentiary and has an extensive rap sheet which includes grand theft, drugs, evading a peace officer and a weapons charge. True has a pending drug case.
The chain of events started late Tuesday afternoon in San Mateo at the intersection of Delaware and Concar. Police stopped True for what they called "a routine traffic violation."
"They arrested Ms. True for a violation," said Capt. Kevin Raffaelli with the San Mateo Police Department. "They then obtained information in items on Ms. True that were linked to the Sonoma County burglary."
Officers arrested True for driving with a suspended license. That is when they found Susan Maloney's credit card. They say she was also wearing her jewelry. The items were stolen sometime Monday night when the Maloney's empty home was ransacked by burglars.
John, Susan and their two young children were killed over the weekend when a speeding car rammed into their minivan. The 19-year-old driver, Steven Culbertson, died later at a hospital.
After True's arrest, San Mateo contacted Sonoma police. Later that evening, their detectives, with San Mateo sheriff's deputies, staked out True's rural home on Kings Mountain near Skyline Blvd. That is when they spotted the Maloney's stolen Nissan sports car. The car was parked right below Chris Albaugh's home. She watched police officers arrest True's boyfriend Michael Gutierrez.
"All of a sudden there were flashing red police lights obviously," she recalled. "They were yelling, 'Hands in the air! Hands in the air!' which to me means drawn weapons."
"Mr. Guiterrez was seen walking out of the house, got into the silver Nissan and was stopped in the car," said Sgt. Wesley Matsuura with the San Mateo Sheriff's Department.
After the arrest, investigators searched Amber True's home. They say they found financial records, jewelry, electronics and other items stolen from the Maloney family home.
Danny Cissell is Amber True's uncle. When asked if he thought Amber had anything to do with the crime he replied, "We're hoping she didn't. That's all I can say. We're hoping she didn't have anything to do with it and she's not going to be living here much longer."
The California Highway Patrol is trying to find out where Steven Culbertson was just before he caused the collision. A Petaluma man, Michael Loffredo, told the CHP that he saw Culbertson at the Traxx Bar and Grill not far from the accident scene that evening. He also says Culbertson appeared to have a drink in his hand.
The state alcohol beverage control agency is investigating to see if the bar served alcohol to the 19-year-old. Loffredo told ABC7 he saw Culbertson leave the restaurant at high speeds. The CHP says the toxicology test will take 2-3 weeks.
There will be a memorial service for the Maloneys on Friday. Only family and friends have been invited.