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Turlock man charged with murder
Victim found stabbed to death in orchard
Ricardo Rios

The Turlock Police Department is investigating a homicide in which the victim was found stabbed in an orchard outside of town and the suspect located after following the clues from a vehicle fire.

The victim has been identified as Pedro Ruiz, 53, of Turlock.

Arrested for homicide and arson is Ricardo Rios, 29, of Turlock.

For the police department the incident began shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday with a report of a vehicle on fire in the 400 block of Bennington Avenue.

The Turlock Fire Department responded to the vehicle fire, along with police officers. Once the fire was extinguished a large pool of blood was discovered in the vehicle, said Turlock Police Lt. Stephen Webb.

The fire was ruled an arson and the owner of the vehicle was missing, Webb said.

At some point in the investigation detectives identified Rios as a person of interest in the case and obtained a search warrant for his residence in Turlock. At the home detectives found property belonging to that of the missing vehicle owner.

Ruiz was identified as the owner of the vehicle set on fire. He was later found in an orchard in the 400 block of N. Gratton Road in an unincorporated area of Stanislaus County. Ruiz had sustained multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead.

This was not the first time a burning vehicle left on Bennington Avenue has led to a murder arrest. In 2008, Mark Anthony Henson II, was stabbed multiple times and his car set on fire on Bennington Avenue. A jury convicted Nicholas Harris in 2014 of second-degree murder along with the enhancement he using a deadly weapon. They also found him guilty of arson.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Detective James Brewer at 664-7331.