Updated 08/13/2018: The victims in last Thursday’s homicides have been identified as Veronica Soto Ortega (30) and Ana Gabriela Soto (26), both residents of Escondido. The victims were sisters and resided together at the address in the 500 block of W. 11th Ave, in the City of Escondido. Veronica’s body was located at the residence. Ana’s body was located inside the SUV in the area of Kauana Loa Dr and Country Club Dr. The manner and cause of deaths for both sisters are still under investigation by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The suspect, Juan Carlos Ortega, was arrested at his place of work in the City of Carlsbad. The Escondido Police Department does not believe that his employers had any knowledge of the incidents and they have been fully cooperative with the investigation. Juan Carlos Ortega, was determined to be the estranged husband of Veronica Soto Ortega. As previously stated, potential means and motives, as well as, the events leading up to the deaths are still under investigation.
Escondido CA— Early Thursday morning, August 9, 2018, at approximately 04:17, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department was dispatched to a car fire in the area of Kauana Loa Dr and Country Club Dr. This location is an unincorporated portion of the county just outside the city limits of Escondido. After extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a deceased person inside the white SUV. The Fire Department contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department who responded to the scene. Sheriff deputies confirmed that there was a deceased adult female victim inside of the SUV. The SUV was registered to a residence in the City of Escondido.
Escondido Police officers responded to the SUV owner’s address in the 500 block of W. 11th Ave. Officers discovered a second deceased adult female victim inside of that residence. Officers also located two young children asleep inside the residence. The children were not harmed and were taken into protective custody.
The two scenes were determined to be connected and the Escondido Police Department assumed investigation of both incidents. Both victims sustained traumatic injuries. The identities of the two victims are not being released pending notifications to family.
At 8:30pm on Thursday, Escondido Police detectives arrested Juan Carlos Ortega (33) as a result of the investigation. Although it is believed that there is a connection between the suspect and the two victims, the extent of that connection, any potential motives, and the events leading up to the deaths are still under investigation. Ortega was later booked into the Vista Detention facility on two counts of PC 187(a) Murder and one count of PC 451 Arson.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call the Escondido Police at 760-839-4722, leave an anonymous tip at 760-743-TIPS (8477), or via their Website at police.escondido.org