A detective seeking the man responsible for a 2017 stabbing murder near Pyramid Lake confirmed a suspect is in the custody of federal marshals Monday.
The man, Salvador Rodriguez, 30, was arrested recently in Nebraska, according to Detective John O’Brien of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit. Rodriguez was believed to be working in the area where he was arrested, after being paroled for a plea deal regarding a prior assault, O’Brien confirmed.
Neither the local media contact nor a representative for the Nebraska office of the U.S. Marshals Service was immediately available for comment regarding the status of Rodriguez’s custody, or when he would be in Los Angeles County.
“He’s being charged federally because where the crime occurred is on U.S. Forestry land,” O’Brien said, confirming he and partner Sgt. Domenick Recchia were the ones investigating the homicide.
O’Brien said the delay in bringing forth the case against Rodriguez had to do with custody delays and then issues with COVID-19 since earlier this year, which has made especially strict protocols necessary regarding custodial transfers, according to officials.
Four hikers, an adult and three teens, were exploring the shallow creek south of Pyramid Lake on July 8, 2017, when they found the body of a man — later identified as Josue Salvador Pedraza Antunez, 29, of Newhall — who was found stabbed to death, partially submerged in the creek and concealed by dense vegetation.
Witnesses were asked to come forward. Detectives ultimately identified two people of interest: a 32-year-old man, also of Newhall; and Rodriguez, who lived in Newhall at the time and listed his occupation as dishwasher in arrest records.
Neither was ever formally charged.
Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau described finding the body 1.5 miles north of a U.S. Forest Service fire station, near the
Frenchman’s Flat Campground, a favorite Los Angeles County picnic spot.
Detectives suspect Antunez, whom friends knew as “Chavo,” may have gone to Frenchman’s Flat with a group of friends the day he was killed.
Both men questioned are believed to have known Antunez through work.
Rodriguez was on parole for attempted murder at the time of Antunez’s death, according to court records.
On April 30, 2009, Rodriguez was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed back in 2017.