BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Investigators said they believe two Alabama men who went missing while visiting the Sacramento area were killed. Detectives are now looking for their bodies after arresting one of two suspects.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives found evidence that led them to believe 25-year-old LaDexter Pelt and 20-year-old John Dubose Jr. had been killed at a home in unincorporated Gridley after going missing in early November.
The sheriff’s office said detectives also uncovered evidence that 30-year-old Ricardo Banuelos-Villarreal and 35-year-old Alfredo Banuelos-Villarreal, two brothers from Gridley, killed Pelt and Dubose before hiding their bodies.
Ricardo Banuelos-Villarreal was arrested Nov. 14 in Yuba City and faces two counts of murder, the sheriff’s office reported. He is in custody at the Butte County Jail.
According to the sheriff’s office, an arrest warrant has been issued for Alfredo Banuelos-Villarreal, who is still at large. As detectives search for him, they are also looking for a 2008 Nissan Altima with California license plate 6VAR204.
At the start of their investigation, Gridley police said they obtained surveillance footage showing Pelt and Dubose entering a dark blue, four-door sedan at the Sacramento International Airport just after 11 a.m. on Nov. 4.
The day before their disappearances, Pelt’s mother and Alabama Councilwoman Tracey Hunter said her son contacted her.
“He let me know that he made it to Sacramento, California, and we said goodbye for now. And that was it,” Hunter said.
Hunter told FOX40 she lost contact with the men and both of their phones had been disconnected.
“I have every reason to be concerned because my child would’ve called me by now,” Hunter told FOX40 days after her son went missing.
Police in Gridley told FOX40 Pelt and Dubose were last seen in their city, about an hour north of downtown Sacramento. The families said neither man has been to Gridley before and they have no acquaintances in the area.
Loved ones made it clear that “all signs of life ended shortly after Pelt and Dubose arrived in Butte County,” the sheriff’s office wrote in Tuesday’s release.
Since then, investigators have found the men’s cell phones. Dubose’s phone was found by a hunter in the Sutter Bypass Wildlife Area, near the Feather River Bridge crossing. Cell phone providers gave investigators information on the whereabouts of Pelt’s phone, which led to a search of the area surrounding the Super 8 by Wyndham motel on Madison Avenue and Hillsdale Boulevard in Sacramento.
By Nov. 13, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office began assisting Gridley police with their investigation into the disappearances and subsequent deaths. In Tuesday’s press release, the sheriff’s office said they have been interviewing people up and down the state for weeks and issued numerous search warrants.
Now, detectives said they want to interview anyone who has talked to the two suspects in the last three months or seen any suspicious activity on their property or farm in the past month.
Anyone who has information related to the case has been asked to call detectives at 530-538-7671.