“34-Year-Old Man Charged in Killing of Luis Pinedo Found in Burned Vehicle”

By | July 12, 2023

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A 34-year-old man, Ruben Corria Esquivel Jr., has been arrested and charged in connection with a July 2020 killing in Thermal, California. The victim, Luis Pinedo, was found dead inside a burned vehicle on Pierce Street near Airport Boulevard. Initially deemed suspicious, Pinedo’s death was later classified as a homicide after evidence of “homicidal violence” was discovered during the autopsy.

Esquivel is facing multiple charges, including murder, arson, possession of a firearm, and possessing ammunition as a convicted felon and narcotic addict. He also has a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury and a special-circumstance allegation of having more than one offense.

The investigation into the case involved arson investigators, who determined that the fire was deliberately set using a poured liquid on the asphalt. The autopsy revealed that Pinedo had sustained a single gunshot wound to the left side of his head before being burned. Dental records were used to identify the victim.

Esquivel was identified as the suspect through interviews, phone analysis, call records, and social media records. He was allegedly found with severe burns on his chest, face, and arm, which he sustained during the incident. Further examination of his phone revealed photos of his burned face and online searches related to burned vehicles, dead bodies, and homicides in Riverside County.

It is worth noting that Esquivel is already awaiting trial for a separate murder case in which he is accused of shooting a 42-year-old man in Indio in February 2020. He has previous felony convictions, including attempted carjacking and parole violations.

No arraignment date has been set for the Thermal murder case, but Esquivel is scheduled to appear in court for the Indio homicide. Authorities are urging anyone with additional information about the case to contact the sheriff’s Central Homicide Investigator..

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