Suspect in rural Mercedes kidnapping, murder back in Hidalgo County

Erik Eduardo Almaraz

One suspect involved in the aggravated kidnapping of a Mercedes man that turned fatal late last month is set to be arraigned at the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center Thursday afternoon.

Erik Eduardo Almaraz, 22, is set to be formally arraigned for a murder charge regarding the death of Carlos Garcia Ruiz, 19, and two additional charges of aggravated kidnapping.

This comes after Almaraz and fellow suspect 20-year-old Gerson Escobar were caught attempting to cross through the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint the day after Ruiz was shot in the head.

In addition, the others involved, which include Ruiz’s sister and girlfriend,17-year-old Rosalba Sarahi Garcia Ruiz and 18-year-old Joselyn Gabriela Lomeli, as well as sisters Ashley Dinhora Orozco, 21, and Esmeralda Lee Orozco, 19, will be formally arraigned on two counts of aggravated kidnapping.

On Feb. 23, authorities responded to 6833 Vera Lane in rural Mercedes at 3:46 a.m. in regards to an aggravated kidnapping of two men, namely 19-year-old Juan Ramirez and his friend Joe Anthony Valdez.

Ramirez told police that two masked men armed with rifles showed up at his house and pointed a rifle to his head.

“One of the men pushed a gun against the back of [Ramirez’s] head with the butt of the rifle causing the rifle to go off and strike the second male subject,” the criminal complaint said.

Valdez said that two girls and three armed men showed up at Ramirez’s home.

One man pushed a gun against the back of his head and put him into a truck face down, but when the gunshot went off, the man told Valdez to get out and walk away slowly or else he’d shoot him.

Valdez added that he saw one of the girls take his friend’s red 2014 Ford Fusion.

Later, deputies received word that Ruiz, who had been shot in the head, arrived at the Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco where he was pronounced dead.

Police observed two women, Garcia and Lomeli, arrive at the location who said they were the ones to drop off Ruiz after he was shot.

Both women were interviewed separately where they both admitted to their involvement in the aggravated kidnapping attempt that was planned by Ruiz.

The next day, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of both Orozco sisters after it was found that they were involved in the attempted kidnapping plot.

“[Ramirez] planned to meet up with Esmer Orozco and Ashley Evelin to hook up,” their affidavit said. “He sent Esmer his address.”

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, Ramirez was also charged and booked into county jail after he was found to be in possession of a controlled substance.

All four women had their bonds set at $1.1 million but are expected to go up once they’re charged with the two counts of aggravated kidnapping alongside Almaraz.

Escobar’s status is not immediately clear.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Almaraz’s last name. 


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