Third suspect arrested in doctor's death

September 30, 2009 9:37:20 AM PDT
Eyewitness News has learned that a third suspect was arrested in the murder of prominent Houston Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez. Texas Rangers say the suspect, Misael Santollo, 18, was arrested at a relative's apartment on 1111 Blalock in Houston just after 8pm Tuesday. They say Santollo had shaved his head to conceal his identity. He was arrested without incident. Investigators are questioning Santollo and believe he holds the key to the motive for the killing.

Santollo is related to the other two suspects who were arrested last week. Brothers Cristobal Galvan Cerna, 23, and Moises Galvan Cerna, 18, are charged with Dr. Gonzalez's murder. They are related to a ranch hand who worked on Dr. Gonzalez's Bellville ranch. We are told both men are in the country illegally.

Investigators say Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez, his wife and a ranch hand were attacked by four men when they arrived at Gonzalez's ranch on Saturday, August 19. Dr. Gonzalez was killed and the ranch hand was shot and injured, while Gonzalez's wife and young son hid from the killers.

"We were able to link both these brothers to the crime scene," said Capt. Freeman Martin of the Texas Rangers. "(The doctor) was assaulted as he approached the residence. He was able to enter the residence. There were three suspects at the ranch prior to his arrival. They were wearing masks and gloves.

"We believe the doctor entered the residence first. He was able to obtain a handgun and attempted to defend his family.

"At least two of the three suspects at the house had handguns and they exchanged gunshots with the doctor. Dr. Gonzalez was shot and died at the scene."

While hiding with her baby, Dr. Gonzalez's wife was reportedly on the phone with 911 operators during the incident.

For a week, investigators had no suspects, then an irregularity. A state trooper captured a white pickup on his dash cam as it left the area near the ranch after the shooting. The brothers, officials say, tried to cover their tracks.

"We discovered the license plate on the truck had been renewed on Monday and new plates were obtained even though the old tags had not expired. We also discovered that this Ford pickup was registered to the stepfather of the ranch hand," said Capt. Martin.

Investigators zeroed in on the ranch hand's brothers, the Cernas, who often drove the pickup. Though authorities won't reveal the link, they say there is one, but the motive is still unclear.

"We do not believe the doctor owed any money. We do not believe he was involved with any foul play. We are collecting facts, and I hate to speculate on a motive," said Capt. Martin.

At this point, police don't believe the ranch hand was involved. He is still hospitalized.

      QUICK HEADLINES | MORE LOCAL | GET NEWS ALERTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC13 SOCIAL NETWORKING
Find us on Facebook® | Follow us on Twitter | More social networking
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE FROM ABC13
ABC13 widget | Most popular stories | Street-level weather
ABC13 wireless | Slideshow archive | Help solve crimes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Load Comments