Suspect in Catawba County double murder living in US illegally, deputies say

CONOVER, N.C. — Deputies said a man accused of shooting and killing a woman and her son inside his Catawba County home late Sunday night is living in the country illegally.

Gonzalo Salinas-Cisheros, 24, was charged with two counts of murder after 43-year-old Brandi Rodriquez and her 24-year-old son, Jessie Rodriquez, were found shot to death inside his home on White Tail Circle in Conover.

Deputies said they responded to the home around 11:45 p.m. after reports of a shooting.

Inside, deputies said they found Salinas-Cisheros, the bodies, drugs and the murder weapon.

Investigators said a witness told them Salinas-Cisheros and the victims had been smoking meth before the shooting.

(Gonzalo Salinas-Cisheros)

Search warrants said that, when Salinas-Cisheros was taken into custody, he admitted to investigators that he murdered both the mother and her son.

Sheriff Don Brown said Salinas-Cisheros also told officials he was in the country illegally,  and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that information.

Salinas-Cisheros's fiancee told Eyewitness News reporter Dave Faherty that he had been in the United States since he was 6 months old, after being born in Mexico, and was working on becoming a U.S. citizen.

“He was upfront and honest about his situation," she said. "And he didn’t want to just get married and people think we got married just so he could become legal. We’ve been together for almost four years.”

Channel 9 learned other people were there when the shots were fired, but Salinas-Cisheros is the only one facing charges at this point.

“He’s just not that type of person," his fiancee said. "I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t here.”

Court documents said an officer was patrolling the neighborhood around the time of the murders when Salinas-Cisheros flagged him down, telling him a woman was hurt.

The motive is still under investigation, but officials told Faherty that it was not a domestic situation.

Channel 9 talked to friends of the family, including one man who was with Jessie Rodriquez about an hour and a half before the shooting. He said Jessie Rodriquez and his mother were always together.

“They were really close," friend Luis Chavez said. "They were really close. You probably wouldn’t see his mom and him not together. They were always together. He was just overprotective of his mom.”

Neighbors said they are hoping for answers in the case and are praying for the family.

“I think everybody needs God. That’s what I think,” neighbor Tracy May said. “It’s getting bad. I think everybody needs to get on their knees and pray about it.”

Salinas-Cisheros is being held in the Catawba County Detention Center. He has not been given bail.

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The sheriff said ICE has now issued an immigration detainer and an order for his arrest.

“Once they come into our facility, we are going to run the same queries to find out why they’re here or if they’re wanted by any other jurisdiction, whether it’s local, state or federal, and we’re going to honor them,” Brown said.

Check back with wsoctv.com for more information. 

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