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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Witnesses testify in court in the case of a man suspected of kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl near Orland.

Five witnesses were called to testify on Thursday and Friday in a trial of a man suspected of kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl near Orland.

Alfredo Ruvalcabe, 59, of Artois, was charged in 2015 with the kidnapping and murder of Melissa Esquivel-Flores, a student at Hamilton High School. On July 4, 2015, Esquivel-Flores was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in a workshop in the 3600 block of County Road D.

Ruvalcaba has been charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder.

The trial began on Wednesday with opening statements from Dwayne Stewart, Glenn County District Attorney, and Jesse Santana, defense attorney. The prosecution began calling witnesses on Thursday.

The first witness for the prosecution was Grant Carmon, District Warden of the First Circuit. He was a police officer with the Orlando Police Department at the time of Esquivel-Flores’ alleged murder.

Carmon said he was the first officer to arrive at the site where Esquivel Flores was found. He said the three men waved their hands to stop him when he first arrived on the scene. Carmon said that one of the men told him that there was a body in the workshop and partially escorted him to the workshop.

He said that when he entered the store, there was a closed area where there was a second door. Carmon said he pushed open the second door and saw a young woman in a bra and panties sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. He said that he went out and went to talk to another deputy who had just arrived at the scene.

The prosecution then called Justin Gibbs to testify. Gibbs is a lieutenant in the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office, but he was not a lieutenant at the time of Esquivel-Flores’ alleged murder.

Gibbs said he helped another detective issue a search warrant for what is believed to be the residence of Ruvalcaba. He said they were looking for evidence that Ruvalkaba lived there. Gibbs said he found a letter from the USDA. During the search, Gibbs stated that he had also found ammunition.

The prosecution called Heath Rasmussen, deputy sheriff of Glenn County, as a third witness. Rasmussen said he was contacted by a lieutenant on July 5, 2015 to assemble search and rescue personnel to conduct a search. In total, five people searched the garden, including Rasmussen.

He said there were concerns that Ruvalcaba may have been injured and was in the gardens. After the search, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, Rasmussen said that the search and rescue team found some items.

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He said they found a mobile phone, a pair of shoes, a water bottle, a bottle of liquor, red blisters that usually contain drugs, and a shotgun. After the search and rescue team found the items, Rasmussen said he contacted Detective Greg Felton, who also works for the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office.

On Thursday, the prosecution called investigator Kelly Knight as the fourth witness in court. Knight said he was called to the scene after the search and rescue team found the items. He said that he processed the scene, that is, he photographed and marked possible evidence.

Knight said the scene also contained an empty Lexotan drug box, a small black flashlight, and a small bottle cap. He said that a pair of blue jeans and a blue plaid shirt were also found elsewhere in the garden.

Felton was called by the prosecution as the fifth witness. He said he was called to the first stage where Esquivel Flores was found. Felton said the sheriff’s office was able to quickly identify Esquivel-Flores because her father found her.

Felton said he went to investigate Esquivel-Flores’ bedroom and found her mobile phone and purse on the bed. He also said he found the stairs outside her bedroom window. Felton said he also found a couple of photos of Esquivel-Flores and Ruvalcaba.

Felton said that around 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015, he heard a call about a man lying on the side of the road. He said that he responded to the call together with the deputy. Felton said that when they answered the call they found Ruvalcaba in socks and underwear on the side of the road, he did not answer.

He said he kept Revalcaba’s airway open to make sure he was breathing until an ambulance arrived. Felton said he tried to interview Ruvalcaba on July 7, 2015 at Enlo Medical Center, but Ruvalcaba did not respond at the time. He said he returned to Enlohe on July 8, 2015, where he asked Ruvalcaba questions about what happened on the night of July 3, 2015.

The interview was recorded with a voice recorder and a Wolfcom 3rd Eye Patrol body camera. Both were presented to the jury in court.

The trial is due to resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Glenn County Fairgrounds.

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