“34-year-old Man Charged in Killing of Luis Pinedo found Dead in Burned Vehicle in Thermal”

By | July 13, 2023



A 34-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with a murder that occurred in July 2020 in Thermal, California. Ruben Corria Esquivel Jr. of Coachella is facing multiple felony charges, including murder, arson, and possessing ammunition as a convicted felon and narcotic addict.

The incident came to light when deputies responded to a vehicle fire on Pierce Street near Airport Boulevard in the early hours of July 18, 2020. After extinguishing the blaze, the body of Luis Pinedo, 34, was discovered inside the burned vehicle. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department initially considered the death suspicious but later upgraded it to a homicide investigation.

Autopsy results revealed that Pinedo had sustained a gunshot wound to the head before being burned. Arson investigators determined that the fire was deliberately set using a poured liquid on the asphalt. Through interviews, phone analysis, call records, and social media records, Esquivel was identified as the suspect in Pinedo’s murder.

Esquivel was found with severe burns on his chest, face, and arm the morning after the murder. His possession of phones containing photos of his burned face and online searches related to burned vehicles, dead bodies, and homicides in Riverside County further implicated him in the crime.

It is worth noting that Esquivel is already awaiting trial for a separate murder case involving the shooting of a 42-year-old man in Indio in February 2020.

Esquivel has a history of felony convictions in Riverside County, including attempted carjacking and parole violations.


While an arraignment date for the July 2020 Thermal murder case has not been set, Esquivel is due in court on Thursday for the February 2020 Indio homicide.

Authorities are urging anyone with additional information about the case to contact the sheriff’s Central Homicide Investigator Mendoza..