A joint investigation between New Castle County Police, Wilmington Police, the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Delaware Attorney General’s Office has led to the charging and arrests of multiple suspects in two separate Delaware homicides.
Last week, four men were arrested for the alleged July 29th murder of 29-year-old Isaias Gonzalez in Wilmington, Police announced Tuesday. Another man will be extradited from Pennsylvania to Delaware for the alleged December murder of his mother Juanita Lara in Claymont.
“Commit murder in New Castle County and we will find you and we will arrest you,” said Col. Elmer Setting of the New Castle County Police.
An investigation run by New Castle County Police and the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office led to the charging of Michael Rivera, 33, for the alleged December murder of his mother Juanita Lara, 57, in Claymont. He is also charged with arson and reckless endangerment for allegedly setting fire to her third floor apartment.
On Dec. 19, New Castle County Police responded to the Harbor Drive Apartments on Harbor Drive in Claymont for reports of a fire. Officers evacuated several residents, and fire crews from Delaware and Pennsylvania worked to extinguish the fire. There were millions of dollars in damage, two apartment buildings were destroyed and 40 individuals were displaced.
Lara was found on second floor of building – an autopsy later ruled her death a homicide, and the fire later was ruled as arson.
On Dec. 22, Rivera’s car was found in Kennett Square, Pa. He was arrested by Pennsylvania police on unrelated charges and was later linked to the Delaware murder. Rivera is currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania and awaiting trial for charges given in that state. After his trial, he will be extradited to Delaware.
Last week, Police arrested Timane Dollard, 24, Dameir Walker, 23, Miguel Taylor, 24, and Marquivus Hardy, 24, all of Wilmington, for the alleged murder of Isaias Gonzalez, 29, of Wilmington.
On July 28th around 11:30 p.m. police responded to a home invasion on Maryland Avenue in Wilmington.
A half hour later, police were called to Martin Drive in Wilmington for a shooting, and found Gonzalez and a second victim injured with a gunshot wound. Both were taken to Christiana Hospital in Newark, where Gonzalez was pronounced dead.
Investigators later learned the victim of the home invasion knew Gonzalez. All four men charged with the crimes were acquaintances, according to police.
The suspects are charged with first degree murder, first degree attempted murder, first degree robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, two counts of reckless endangering in the first degree and conspiracy in the second degree.
They were arraigned and committed to Howard Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington without bail for the charge of first degree murder. The additional charges carry a total of $234,000 secured bail.
“The arrests were a result of a week of an intense and round the clock investigation led by Det. Hector Garcia and Attorney General Colleen Norris, who should be commended for their hard work,” said Capt. Patricia Davies, investigations section commander.
Attorney General Matt Denn said the arrests were made in part due to the cooperation between New Castle County Police and Wilmington Police, and help from key witnesses.
“The cooperation of witnesses was absolutely critical in solving this case, and that’s been true in a number of cases we’ve been able to resolve over the past several months,” he said.
“Slowly but surely, law abiding residents in the city and county who are tired of the violence we’ve seen have begun to step forward and work with law enforcement to help get criminals off the street.”