BREA – Authorities are trying to determine if child support payments motivated a father of two young boys to kill them and their mother inside an Orange apartment.
Shazer Fernando Limas, 31, was arrested on suspicion of killing his girlfriend, 31-year-old Arlet Hernandez Contreras, whose body was found April 25 by county workers in La Puente, Orange police Sgt. Dan Adams said. She had been stabbed to death.
The boys, 2-year-old Fernando, and 3-month-old Emanuel, have not been found.
A search at a county landfill in Brea for the bodies of two young boys was suspended Monday due to the unavailability of cadaver-sniffing dogs. The search is expected to resume Tuesday, authorities said.
According to a court filing seeking child support, Limas was supposed to start paying $284 a month to Contreras beginning April 1.
Adams confirmed investigators are looking into whether his child support obligation was a possible motive in the killings, but are looking into “all aspects of his past.”
Limas is being held at the Orange County Jail and is expected to appear in court Monday, jail records show.
Police began investigating the disappearance of Contreras and her two sons on Thursday after blood was found inside a recently vacated apartment at 3063 W. Chapman Ave., in Orange, where all three had lived with Limas, Adams said.
Investigators believe Contreras and her two children may have been killed several weeks ago during an altercation inside the apartment, Adams said.
Limas moved out of the apartment April 28, Adams said.
Late Thursday afternoon, police found Limas near Main Street and MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana near John Wayne Airport.
When they tried to pull over his Nissan 350Z, he led police on a high-speed chase south on the I-405, and then south on the I-5. At about 7:40 p.m., Limas stopped near the San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint and sat in his vehicle for about 30 minutes before he was detained.
Limas has refused to cooperate with investigators or to reveal what happened to Contreras and the boys, Adams said.
During the investigation, detectives contacted neighboring counties in search of Contreras and the boys and learned the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner had an unidentified female adult body matching Contreras’ description. The woman was identified late Friday. County workers found her under a tarp in an area known for trash-dumping near the junction of the 60 and the 605 freeways.
The search at a county landfill in Brea for the bodies of two young boys believed to have been killed by their father was suspended Monday due to the unavailability of cadaver-sniffing dogs. The search is expected to resume Tuesday, authorities said.
The boys were not located.
Authorities have been searching the landfill in Brea for several days because all of the trash from the apartment complex ends up there. Adams said a trail of some sort of stain, possibly a blood, was found from the apartment door to a trash chute or an elevator.
“We are up there looking just in case but right now we don’t know where the boys are,” Adams said.
Anyone with information was asked to call Orange police investigator Aaron Towner at 714-744-7456.
Register staff writers Elysse James and Brian Martinez contributed to this report.