Investigators believe David J. Quiroz killed Heather Alaina Carroll, a 25-year-old mother and wife, in the same residence where a standoff ensued Friday night in southeast Hollister.
Quiroz, a 30-year-old Hollister man, was arrested and is suspected in the homicide of Carroll, who went missing Wednesday after dropping off her young boy at Ladd Lane School.
Police are continuing their investigation – an autopsy on the body, presumed to be that of Carroll, was scheduled for Monday – and have released few details about the possible motive or circumstances leading up to her death.
Quiroz after his arrest early Saturday morning admitted to the slaying and told investigators he killed her Wednesday morning at the residence after the got into an argument.
Interim Police Chief David Westrick did confirm investigators believe the homicide occurred at Quiroz’s residence in the 2100 block of Cerra Vista Drive, where police arrested the suspect. The chief also said police do not believe a firearm was involved in the crime.
At this point, he declined to verify information about any other weapons potentially used, how and why she was at his house, the involvement of her vehicle discovered early Thursday engulfed in flames, and whether any evidence may point to premeditation on the part of Quiroz. Police declined to comment further Monday and planned to release more information Tuesday.
Detectives questioned Quiroz on Saturday after an 11-hour standoff that started around 4 p.m. Friday in the 2100 block of Cerra Vista Drive. Quiroz surrendered to police and was arrested without incident.
Police shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday announced they found a female body in the residence. During questioning, Quiroz had directed investigators to its location in the home, while police recovered the body at around 5:30 a.m.
Westrick said detectives were not immediately clear how Carroll knew Quiroz.
“We don’t know if there’s anything,” Westrick said Saturday. “The only thing we know is they were acquaintances.”
But police noted that Quiroz was among the people who took part in a citizen-sponsored search for Carroll following her disappearance.
“I thought that was remarkable,” Westrick said. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Police had been searching for the 25-year-old mother and wife who was reported missing Wednesday. Carroll was last seen that morning dropping off her boy at school. Authorities then found her sport utility vehicle at 2 a.m. Thursday in a field near Enterprise Road and Glenview Drive, about a mile from the house where the standoff occurred.
Investigators had obtained information Friday pointing to the possible involvement of Quiroz. While responding to the residence for questioning, dispatchers received a call from someone saying Quiroz was possibly armed and suicidal.
As the standoff proceeded, it was a relatively calm environment in the residential neighborhood near Cerra Vista School on Hollister’s southeast side. Police barricaded off several blocks to keep residents away. Authorities had evacuated the neighborhood, including an after-school program at the school.
Hollister police requested help from Gilroy’s SWAT team, the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office and several other surrounding agencies.
Following the arrest, Quiroz needed treatment and had “some medical things to take care of real quickly,” Westrick said.
He said the department’s condolences go out to the family.
“The biggest thing is, that the overwhelming community support for our efforts and this family, frankly, I got to tell you, it’s amazing to me,” Westrick said.
Detectives narrowed the focus
Until Friday, two days after Carroll’s disappearance, police had not “had a really good geographic area for searches” Westrick said Friday. But he indicated the same day that investigators – including a search and rescue unit brought in from the sheriff’s office – had begun narrowing their efforts to specific locations.
“Until really today,” he said Friday, “we haven’t had a really good geographic area for searches. We have been trying to obtain that for the last two days.”
On Friday, police received help from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit. They were joined by authorities from the FBI, Department of Justice and other surrounding agencies in the effort to find Carroll.
Police were especially concerned about her disappearance due to circumstances that “added up” – how she failed to pick up her child and others at the school, her routinely prompt nature, and calls to her cell phone that went unanswered, Westrick said.