A Wilkesboro teenager and a Taylorsville man, already facing three counts each of first-degree murder, have been indicted on two more counts apiece of the same offense.
Heidi Darlene Wolfe, 18, and Areli Aguirre-Avilez, 31, were served true bills of indictment for two counts of first-degree murder each on Sept. 18 for the murders of Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena and Luis Fernando Sanchez, stated a press release from the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.
Wolfe and Aguirre-Avilez already were in the Alexander County Detention Center with no bond after being charged with murder in the deaths of Maria Calderon Martinez and her son, Angel Pacheco, and daughter, America Pacheco.
According to court papers, Martinez and the two children were murdered on the night of June 15, 2019, in their mobile home near the northern end of Black Oak Ridge Road in the Vashti community of northern Alexander. Martinez was 38, Angel was 11 and America was 12 then.
Firefighters found the badly burned bodies of the children in the mobile home after extinguishing a fire there late that night.
Alexander Sheriff Chris Bowman said Aguirre-Avilez and Martinez were once married, but Mendez-Pena was Martinez’s boyfriend at the time of the murders. Mendez-Pena and Sanchez were co-workers in construction outside Alexander County on weekdays and they were building an addition to Calderon’s mobile home when they disappeared in June 2019 and were feared murdered, Bowman added.
One of three sets of skeletal remains found by a hunter in the bed of a burned pickup in the Mouth of Wilson community of Grayson County, Va., on Nov. 4, 2019, were identified as those of Martinez. Authorities said they believe the other remains are those of Mendez-Pena and Sanchez and that the pickup belonged to Pena.
Alexander deputies searched for Pena and Sanchez, 33 and 36 when they became missing, in Wilkes and Ashe counties because they were known to have connections there.
Autopsy reports say the children died from one gunshot each. “In my opinion, it was execution-style,” said Bowman, adding that the case was unlike any he had been involved with in his 40 years in law enforcement in Alexander and was unusual for the county.
According to court papers, Wolfe said in an interview that Avilez killed two people in the mobile home in Vashti when she and Avilez went there the night of June 15. The papers quote Wolfe as saying that when a third person ran out, Avilez told her to run over the person and she did, killing the person. Bowman said the two killed in the mobile home were the children and Martinez was the person who ran out.
Avilez and Wolfe are also charged with first-degree arson due to the June 15 mobile home fire, plus Avilez is charged with violating a domestic protective order with a deadly weapon and statutory rape of a child age 15 or younger.
A judge issued the protective order on behalf of Martinez against Avilez on Jan. 16 after Avilez threatened to burn down her home. Avilez was convicted of assaulting Martinez earlier in 2019. Wolfe apparently is the victim in the case in which Avilez is charged with statutory rape.
Bowman said earlier that his understanding was that Wolfe would be tried as an adult. She was 16 when the murders occurred.