(Seguin) -- A red 2008 Mazda 3 vehicle may have been the key factor that linked tips together in helping to solve Seguin's latest murder. Carlos Contreras, the public information officer for the Seguin Police Department, announced Friday that the suspects in the death of Guamaro Castaneda-Escatel, 54, had been apprehended in Brown County just south of Abilene. The couple has since admitted to murdering the victim under the Guadalupe River bridge at State Highway 123 Bypass.
The incident is believed to have occurred on April 28, but his body wasn't discovered until Tuesday, May 3. Arrested and charged with the murder were Gabriel Perez, 41, and Andrea Middleton, 24. The transient couple was apparently living in a tent under the bridge when the murder occurred. Contreras says Perez admitted to police that he struck the victim in the back of the head with a hammer after a verbal argument. He and Middleton then dragged the victim's body into a brushy area. They then admitted to packing up and cleaning the bloody crime scene.
Contreras says one of the initial tips in the investigation came from perhaps the driver of a black dually pickup truck who reportedly helped the couple pull their red Mazda out of the mud.
Detectives and witnesses worked closely with a forensic sketch artist and produced a composite drawing of the male suspect. After posting the composite drawing on the Seguin Police Department Facebook page, Detectives say they began receiving multiple tips regarding the suspects. It ultimately led to the identification of Perez and Middleton.
After leaving the crime scene, Perez and Middleton reportedly fled north to Brown County. While on their way, their Mazda reportedly broke down and was being towed by a passing motorist. Local police made a traffic stop with the towed vehicle and two suspects but was unaware that they were possible persons of interest in the murder in Seguin.
The Texas Rangers, who were assisting the Seguin Police Department, were then contacted due to an inquiry on the two suspects names.
The Ranger immediately notified the law enforcement agency in Brown County and even though the traffic stop had been concluded and the suspects had just been released, local law enforcement officials immediately caught up to them a short distance up the road.
Both suspects were then detained by Brown County Sheriff's Office Deputies. Both Perez and Middleton were found to have active warrants out of Comal and Guadalupe County for unrelated charges and were transported to the local detention facility. After securing a search warrant, Contreras says numerous evidence items were obtained from their vehicle. Middleton was then interviewed and verbally placed herself and Perez at the Guadalupe River Bridge during the time of the murder.
Contreras says according to Middleton, she said she and Perez were camping under the bridge. She further admitted that she and Perez had made contact with the victim. As for Perez, he admitted to striking the victim multiple times in the head. Perez also told investigators that Middleton assisted him with cleaning the crime scene. They also threw several “items” containing blood spatter into a dumpster.
As of Friday afternoon, Middleton remained in Brown County. Perez has since been transferred to the Guadalupe County Jail. Since the couple's arrest, a dive team and detectives have been busy combing the river bridge for further evidence. The search continues for the hammer and other items reportedly dumped at the site.