SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four men including two brothers were charged with murder Monday, nearly two years after the mysterious disappearances of two California teenagers who told their parents they were leaving for a while but never returned home.
One of the Sacramento-area four, 18-year-old Jesus Campos of Woodland, California, has been charged in juvenile court because he was a minor at the time, said Jonathan Raven, Yolo County's chief deputy district attorney.
Another man — David Ashley Froste, 27, of Knights Landing, California, already is in state prison, said Yolo County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Matthew Davis. Corrections officials said he began serving a 3-year sentence last month for manufacturing drugs and injuring someone.
The other two are Chandale Shannon of Winters, California, and Jonathan Froste of Knights Landing, both age 21. Their attorneys — Bob Spangler for Shannon and Ava Landers for Jonathan Froste — said they just received the cases and couldn't comment. Public defender Andrea Pelochino did not respond to a request for comment on behalf of Campos.
Police have been investigating since 16-year-old Enrique Rios disappeared on Oct. 17, 2016 and 17-year-old Elijah Moore vanished on Nov. 4, 2016.
Authorities would not immediately say if the boys' bodies have been found or how the four were linked to the disappearances.
Officials said at the time they suspected the disappearances were related and suspicious. Both were former students at Cesar Chavez Community School in Woodland.
The mother of 16-year-old Enrique Rios told The Sacramento Bee that he texted her on Oct. 17, 2016, saying he was under too much pressure and was going away for a while, but would return. She said her son had left home before but always came back in three or four days.
He was killed on or around the day he disappeared, according to the criminal charges. David Froste and Shannon used a firearm, the charges say.
The next day, Jonathan Froste became an accessory by helping harbor one of the others or helping conceal what he knew to be a murder, the charges allege.
Security cameras showed 17-year-old Elijah Moore at a check cashing facility on Nov. 4, 2016. A text sent from his phone to a friend two days later said he was headed to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Charges against the three adults allege that the Froste brothers kidnapped Moore that day, took him to a different area of Yolo County and killed him on or around that day. David Froste was armed with a knife or scissors during the kidnapping, the charges allege, while they say a firearm was used in the slaying.
The charges include the special circumstances of multiple murders and kidnapping that could bring the death penalty.
"I cannot imagine having to deal with this for two years, wondering where my kids are, what happened to my kids," Woodland Police Chief Luis Soler said at a news conference, according to KCRA-TV. "We are still investigating this case, it is far from over. There is a lot of evidence out there still to collect."
Woodland Police Lt. Aaron Delao said detectives talked to Moore's mother last weekend. "She was saddened, but she did express some relief that arrests were made and that it's possible that there is some finality."
The Rios family issued a statement asking for privacy and thanking people for their support.