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1997 - Alfonso Ignacios Morales is fired from a YMCA counseling job at a YMCA summer camp.
Alfonso Morales is fired for putting a child's head in a toilet.
THE RUIZ FAMILY
2002 - The Ruiz family, Miguel "Mike" (38), wife, Maritza Trejo (41) Jasmin (8), Mike's grandmother
Ana Luisa Martinez (79) are like any other hard working family.
Miguel "Mike" Ruiz works at two jobs in order to support not only his family, but also his
ailing grandmother Ana Luisa. Martiza works and takes care of their family.
Olga Ruiz (sister of Miguel Ruiz) "My brother was not only my brother. He was in essence my father too. There were times when I needed a [father figure], and the only person I could turn to when my father was not around was my big brother Mike."
Raquel Trejo (Martiza Trejo Ruiz's daughter) "When I came here, it was like actually having a real family." (Raquel emigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. to be with her mother.)
Jasmin Ruiz is a loving, bright and playful child who at 8 years old is just beginning her life.
She has a best friend, Candace, the niece of a neighbor living 8 houses away, Alfonso
Photo: Jasmin Ruiz
Felix Alvarado (family member) "Maybe she (Jasmin) didn't say much, but with her smile she said everything."
Mike ruiz works at Sound City (Maywood) as a stereo technician but he also operates his own home based business doing computer and audio equipment sales and repair.
Alfonso Ignacio Morales (security guard) works part time (as a computer repairman) for
Mike. Ruiz. He's borrowed money from Mike Ruiz, only problem is, he hasn't paid it back.
Morales also has eyes Raquel. Racquel Trejo doesn't wish to have anything to do with
Morales. In fact, she is so tense around him that she hides in her bedroom when he comes
to the house.
Mike tells Raquel that Morales won't be coming back to the house anymore, they've had a
falling out about a debt.
Mike Ruiz informs Alfonso Morales he needs to pay back the money he owes.
Morales pays back Mike Ruiz & his entire family .... in blood.
2002 - 12 July -Thursday - 9 P.M. - Mike Gutierrez (friend of Mike Ruiz for 9 years) speaks to
Mike. It will be the last time he will ever speak with his good
2002 - 13 July - Friday morning - A neighbor catches a glimpse of Ana Luisa. After that time, no
one else sees the Ruiz family.
Raquel Trejo is babysitting at a relative's home. She knocks on the door at home,
but no one answers and the door is locked. Racquel goes to her aunt's home and
stays the night.
Alfonso Ignacio Morales, wearing a "Slayer" t-shirt (a heavy metal band "known
for violent lyrics) knocks on the door and is let in. After a few words, a struggle
The adults are tortured and slashed with knives until they are blood covered.
He slashes and slits the throats of both Mike Ruiz and his grandmother Anna
Luisa. Martiza Trejo is stabbed 30 times.
Their blood drenched bodies are dragged into a bedroom and left there.
Then he turns his attention to the young girl, Jasmin. He brutally assaults
her sexually and then drowns her. He leaves her body lying in the bathroom
covered in blood.
Morales ransacks the home, taking items, emptying drawers. It's likely he
wanted something that was higher up on a piece of furniture. He drags a chair
from the dining room into the living room and climbs upon it, leaving a bloody
Before he leaves he tries to clean up some of the blood but it's useless.
He thinks that if he splatters bbq sauce, maple syrup, Italian salad dressing
and other items around with the blood that it will hinder the police investigation.
It's dark outside and that enables him to slip off home, carrying his stolen
goods. He throws his bloody t-shirt into the garbage and puts his loot in
two boxes, then hides it behind his step-father's house.
14 July - Saturday - A HORRIFIC DISCOVERY
Raquel Trejo and her aunt, Kenelly Zeledon go back to the Ruiz house. They're
worried because they've not heard from their family. The women climb over the
fence and Raquel Trejo enters the home first through the kitchen door.
Things aren't as they usually are. Dishes are piled in the kitchen. There's
something red splattered and a smell of rotten eggs and bbq sauce fills the air.
Raquel Trejo is scared but she continues into the house. Water in the fish tank
is gray and murky. She sees blood and bbq sauce on the walls and carpet.
Sick that something awful has happened she goes into her stepfather Mike's office.
The computer is gone and there's blood on the floor.
Raquel Trejo runs from the house "Something is wrong here! There's blood
everywhere!" Kenelly Zeledon is inside the house and screams "No, this is not
Upon hearing her aunt's screams, Raquel Trejo realizes her whole family is gone.
Police are notified.
Olga Ruiz (Mike's sister) “My entire family has just been stabbed to death. My brother, my grandma, my baby niece, my sister-in-law. That was my baby, Jasmin. She had 1,001 friends, the center of attention at all times wherever she went. They were a great family, a working class family. Miguel was a stay-at-home father who had a small business building computers."
Lupe Rivera (Neighbor) “He (Mike) was always there for his daughter, like a Mr. Mom."
"He'd fixed his schedule so he could care for his grandmother, who had suffered a stroke, and pick up Jasmine from school."
Mike Gutierrez (Mike's friend) “It made his day when he was able to fix (the problem), the relief in their customers’ faces when he brought the computers back to life." "I’m just flabbergasted, I’m having a hard time understanding it.”
Blood stains cover the walls and ceilings.
The house has been ransacked.
Drawers have been emptied and furniture overturned.
Computer equipment is missing.
A chair has been moved from the dining room into the bedroom.
There's a palm print upon the mop.
A canvas of the neighborhood finds no one who had heard unusual sounds, or the family's two dogs barking.
What investigators at first believe is blood on the walls turns out to be a mixture of pancake syrup, Italian dressing, barbeque sauce, and all kinds of food products.
The bodies of the Ruiz family are bloody and evidence shows their bodies were dragged from room to room. The three adults are found in one bedroom. Young Jasmin is found in the bathroom, in the bathtub.
Lt. Ray Peavy (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.)
"The crime scene is one of the most grotesque I have ever seen.
We're not clear on the motive ourselves. What could cause an individual
to do what he did?" "The amount of blood in the home reflected "a struggle.
It is like a movie murder scene. In the movies, they tend to overdo the bloody
scene. In this case, it looked like an overdone movie scene."
Sergeant Larry Mitchell (Crime scene investigator with the LA Sheriff’s
Department crime lab)
“I haven't seen very many crime scenes as violent as this one. There's a lot of
violence here,”“They pretty much ransacked the house. We got blood everywhere,
on the walls, on the floor. It looks a though they tried to clean the place up a little
bit cause there is a mop and bucket there. Lot of work to do.” “It doesn’t appear
someone broke into the house. It was almost like they were let into the house."
There are shoe prints on the chair moved from the dining room to the living room
“See all the nicks and gouges? That shoe, if we find it, we can make a conclusive match with those marks."
Saturday 14 July - 11:30 P.M. - The bodies of the Ruiz family are removed from the house
and taken to the coroner's office.
In a house just around the corner from the Ruiz family home, investigators find a 23 year old man wearing a pair of shoes with soles similar to the prints lifted from the chair. Alfonso Morales allows investigators to look at his shoes The shoes are taken to the forensic crime lab.
Bob Keil (Expert in shoe prints) “There is no doubt in my mind that these prints came from
this pair of shoes to the exclusion of all other shoes in the world."
Crime scene investigators search Alfonso Morales’ house. Evidence retrieved are a large garbage
can filled with items stolen from the Ruiz home and a t-shirt possibly stained with blood.
Alfonso Ignacio Morales is arrested and charged with the multiple murders of the Ruiz family.
During the police interview Morales claims "he'd entered the Ruiz home to find 2 men dressed in black already at work and he'd been tied up and forced to watch."
Alfonos Morales pleads "not guilty."
INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE FOUND
Weeks after the murders, Jerry Rodriguez (Alfonso Morales' stepfather) finds 2 boxes behind his house. Inside is incriminating evidence.
Jerry Rodriguez "I considered hiding them but decided to turn them in to investigators. I just thought, 'What if I left it alone or buried it. But eventually it would come up."
BURIAL & MEMORIAM
The Ruiz family are buried at Olive Lawn Memorial Park in La Mirada.
Olga Ruiz (Mike's sister) "It's a little difficult to discuss the whys and hows.
This is something we need for closure. Until we know why it happened, our family
won't be able to rest."
2002 - 26 July - Olga Ruiz "Personally, my faith and my strength has allowed me to forgive this
person who did this. He's going to have to answer to a higher authority. And that's
2005 - 24 August - Testimony & evidence is presented.
Raquel Trejo testifies.
"More than a week before the killings I had refused to go out with him (Morales). When he insisted, I said "maybe." But, I stayed in my room when he was at our house so he couldn't ask me out again."
"Days before the murders, my stepfather told me that Morales, would not come to the house anymore. They had had a falling out over Morales' debt to my stepfather."
"When my aunt, Kenelly Zeledon and I, arrived at the house, I went in first and saw splattered blood. I rushed outside to open the front door for her.
"I was still hoping that was not their blood. Inside the house I heard my aunt scream, "No, this is not true!" Then, I understood that they were gone."
Jerry Rodriguez (Alfonso Morales' stepfather) testifies about finding the two boxes of evidence
behind his house. All of the items in the boxes belonged to Mike Ruiz.
Sheriff's Department homicide investigators testify regarding:
"about 500 pieces of physical evidence gathered from the crime scene and from Morales' house."
The shoe print from a chair in the Ruiz home matches a shoe Morales wore.
A palm print on the mop is that of Alfonso Morales.
Some computer parts in his garbage can belonged to Mike Ruiz.
Police found a knife with blood on it.
The items found in the 2 boxes behind Rodriguez's home.
Some of what initially appeared to be blood was in fact a mix of food items: maple syrup, bbq sauce, italian dressing, and other products. It was an attempt to hinder investigators.
Police investigators and experts testify that Alfonso Morales used 2 knives to slash to death
Mike Ruiz, Maritza Trejo, and Ruiz's grandmother, Ana Martinez.
Alfonso Morales then brutally, sexually assaulted 8-year-old Jasmine Ruiz and then drowned her
in the bathtub.
They testify that there was no evidence of anyone but Alfonso Ignacio Morales having been in
the Ruiz home, at the crime scene.
2005 - 20 April - Alfonso Ignacio Morales is convicted
2005 - May -
Raquel Trejo testifies "When I came here (from El Salvador) it was like actually having a real family."
Detective Beth Smith (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.) testfies that Morales was fired from a YMCA counseling job for putting a child's head in a toilet. Morales (26) had told her he had disciplined the boy "because he had problems with him in the past."
Nicholas Derimow, the boy Morales had dunked into the toilet testified to the incident.
Jacqueline Derimow (Nicholas's mother) also testified to the incident in 1997.
Jurors recommend the death penalty.
2005 - August - Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Cowell imposes the death
penalty. Alfonso Ignacio Morales is asked whether he'd like to speak. He
Kenelly Zeledon "We have no idea how we have been able to deal with this. It's the strength that God has provided us. I close my eyes and I can still picture everything that we saw in that house."
Olga Ruiz, Raquel Trejo and Kenelly Zeledon thank the community for the compassion, "money, hugs and kisses that have been extended to them." "Something that we will never forget."
Alfonso Ignacio Morales is appealling his conviction & sentence.