Officials Ask For Public Assistance As Alexander County Arson, Homicide Investigations Continue
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public assistance as they continue to look for three people who have been missing since last month and may be connected to an arson and triple homicide investigation.
Authorities are advising boaters on Lake Hickory, Lake Lookout, the Catawba River, and any waterways near Alexander County to be on the lookout for anything suspicious in the water.
Officials are still looking looking for Maria Calderon Martinez, who was last seen on June 14th, 2019 at her residence in the Sugar Loaf Community of Alexander.
Her children were found dead inside her residence after the home was set on fire.
Areli Aguirre-Avilez and his girlfriend Heidi Wolfe have been indicted on three counts of murder as a result of the investigation.
Authorities are also looking for Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena and Luis Fernando Sanchez, who were also last seen on June 14th, 2019, in the Sugar Loaf Community of Alexander County.
Officials say Mendez-Pena drives a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado, four-door, dark blue in color, with North Carolina Tags PFC-9029, which is also missing.
Anyone with information should call Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. Administrative Line, Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM, at (828) 632-1111. After Hours and Weekends, (828) 632-2911 or Alexander County Crimestoppers (828) 632-8555. Alexander County Crimestoppers is offering a reward for any information regarding their whereabouts.
A grand jury has indicted two people for their involvement in the murder of a mother and her two children in Alexander County.
On Tuesday, June 25th, a grand jury indicted Areli Aguirre-Avilez on six counts, including; three counts of first degree murder, one count of statutory rape of a child 15-years-old or younger, one count of violation of a domestic violence order with a deadly weapon, and one count of first degree arson.
Heidi Darlene Wolfe was indicted on four counts, including; three counts of first degree murder and one count of first degree arson.
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victims of a triple homicide and arson case, which happened late Saturday night.
Officials say preliminary autopsies were performed Tuesday at Baptist Hospital. The two victims found inside the burned mobile home have been identified as Angel E. Pacheco, 11, and America D. Pacheco, 12. Their cause of death is pending.
The children’s mother, identified as 38-year-old Maria Calderon, is still missing and presumed dead. Authorities are searching for her body in and around the Catawba River at River Bend Park in Catawba County.
Crews are conducting searches on water, land and in the air, officials say, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Investigators say they are also searching for two acquaintances of Maria Calderon, identified as Jose Carlos Mendez and Luis Fernando Sanchez. Mendez and Sanchez are not considered suspects at this time, according to officials.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office at 828-632-2911 or Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555.
Update (June 17, 2019 at 10pm):
Deputies say the third body in the Alexander County triple murder case is still missing as of Monday night.
They will search the River Bend Park and the nearby Catawba River again Tuesday morning.
Firefighters found two bodies inside a burnt out home Saturday night.
Deputies blame the step dad for the murders.
Firefighters found the mobile home in flames on Pine Meadows Ln. in Taylorsville after 11:30 Saturday night.
When firefighters went inside the home, they found bodies in two separate bedrooms so badly burned, they couldn’t tell who they were. So, autopsies will have to confirm.
Deputies believe that was the woman and her 11-year-old son.
Detectives think her 13-year-old daughter’s body is somewhere in River Bend Park, 13 miles away.
“A lot of people knew them and this community is hurting now,” said former neighbor Angel Purdin.
Monday, investigators charged Areli Avilez and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Heidi Wolfe, with three counts of murder.
“Everybody knows everybody around here, and to have something like this happen is a real shock,” said Matthew Grindstaff.
Neighbors had no clue domestic violence was likely unfolding behind closed doors.
A judge issued the woman who lived there a protective order against Avilez in January.
The order says they were separated but he would break into the home and threatened to burn it down.
Court records show he pleaded guilty to assaulting her with a knife in May of 2018.
Detectives believe his abuse escalated to murder Saturday night.
Original Story (June 17, 2019):
ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC — The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office says two people have been charged in connection to triple homicide that resulted from a house fire late Saturday night.
Areli Aguirre-Avilez, 30, of Taylorsville and his girlfriend Heidi Wolfe, 16, of Wilkesboro have each been charged with three counts of First-Degree Murder. The victims are believed to be Aguirre-Avilez’s ex-wife and her two young children, officials say.
According to a joint statement from the Alexander County and Catawba County Sheriff’s Offices Monday afternoon, a search is also currently underway on the Catawba River near the Oxford Dam at River Bend Park on Highway 16 for the third victim of the fire.
The ACSO says they believe the victim is the 13-year-old daughter of the woman found dead inside the home on Saturday.
The fire happened around 11:30 p.m. on June 15th. Officials say fire crews from Sugar Loaf, Vashti and Taylorsville found the mobile home on Pine Meadows Lane fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Once the fire was put out, the ACSO says two bodies, believed to be a mother and her 11-year-old boy, were found inside. Officials say they were in separate rooms of the home, and “burned beyond recognition.”
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to confirm their identities.
Aguirre-Avilez was initially identified as a person of interest, officials say, and taken into custody Sunday afternoon when authorities found him walking on Macedonia Church Road.
Court records show Aguirre-Avilez had a history of violent tendencies towards the victim.
According to a complaint filed by his ex-wife in January, Aguirre-Avilez would stalk her home, broke in and even threatened to burn it down. The couple was still married at the time the complaint was filed, the document says, but had separated.
Officials also say Aguirre-Avilez also pleaded guilty in 2018 to assaulting his ex-wife.
Wolfe and Aguirre-Avilez are being held without bond and have a first court appearance scheduled for Monday, June 24th.
The case is still under investigation and anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Alexander Sheriff’s Office Communications at 828-632-2911 or the Crime Stoppers Line at 828-632-8555.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.